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The Best Way to Lose Weight (and how to do it)

Wouldn’t it be nice if losing weight was as easy as gaining it? All that time spent in the gym and counting calories can quickly get tiresome. But new research has further proven that slow and steady wins the race when you're trying to drop some pounds.

But choosing how to lose weight can sometimes be just as difficult- do I try a new diet, try some supplements, or maybe hit the gym more often? In this blog, we'll break down everything you need to know about weight loss and give you the best weight loss plan to follow (hint: it's a personalized weight loss plan from the Johnson Center).

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Slow and steady wins the race

A new study has suggested what none of us want to be true- that losing weight slow and steady is the most effective way to do so. The study, published in the journal Obesity, followed 183 people who were participating in a year-long weight loss program. The researchers found that participants whose weight fluctuated more during the first 6 months lost less weight after one and two years. For example, someone who lost four pounds in the first week, then regained two pounds the next, and then lost one the next week, and so on, did more poorly than people who consistently lost one pound per week for the first six months.

Although losing ten pounds in the first month can be a big boost of motivation, it may actually not be more beneficial in the long run. Especially if your weight yo-yos the rest of the time. This fact is further proven true by a research study performed on 14 participants of the “Biggest Loser” show. Over the course of the 30-week show, the participants lost an average of 129 pounds, but six years later, all but one had regained most of their weight. Had the participants lost weight at a slow and steady pace, they may have not regained the weight.

Hands down, the most effective way to lose weight is by taking it slow and steady. Long-term, realistic behavioral changes are truly the best way to achieve your weight loss goals. Some of such behavioral changes include:

  • Setting realistic goals

  • Proving positive reinforcement when you meet a goal

  • Look for food triggers

  • Integrate a healthy diet

Now that you know not to expect a quick drop in pounds on your weight loss journey, let’s look deeper into weight loss.

Different stages of weight loss

There are several different stages to weight loss. They typically take place in this order; rapid weight loss followed by a slower, steadier loss of weight.

Stage 1 → Rapid weight loss

This first stage of weight loss usually occurs throughout the first 4-6 weeks. You’ll tend to lose the most weight during this time and even notice changes in how your clothes fit and in your appearance. Unfortunately, most of the weight you’re actually losing in this stage comes from water, carb stores, and protein- not the fat loss you really want.

This quick weight loss tends to occur most rapidly for those following a keto or low-carb diet, as they quickly deplete the body’s carb stores and water reserves. In comparison, a low-fat diet doesn’t necessarily have the same effects. However, while this quick weight loss may initially seem appealing, there’s little evidence that the low-carb or keto diets offer any long-term advantages over a low-fat diet.

Moreover, factors like your age, sex, starting weight, and physical activity level will also play into how quickly you drop the pounds during this stage. For example, men are more likely to lose weight faster than women. On the other hand, older adults tend to lose weight faster than young people. Further, if you’re exercising more and started with higher body weight, you’ll also see the pounds drop faster.

Stage 2 → Slow weight loss

This is the boring stage of weight loss that typically occurs after 6 weeks- your weight loss will slow down and it can be easy to become discouraged. But you shouldn’t be! Because, during this phase, you’re actually losing body fat.

However, while losing body fat, it’s common to experience a weight loss plateau, in which you’ll experience little to no weight loss. These plateaus occur due to metabolic adaptations that decrease your metabolism and the number of calories you burn during a workout. The good news is, if you follow a dietary plan that isn’t too restrictive or hard to follow, you might be able to bypass the weight loss plateau. As, research has found they are more likely to occur for those following very restrictive, difficult diets like keto.

All you can really do during this phase is continue, slowly riding it out and watching your goal weight creep ever closer.

Weight loss v. fat loss:

While these two terms are often used interchangeably, they actually mean two very different things:

  • Weight loss → decreased overall body weight from protein, water, stored carbs, and fat.

  • Fat loss → decreased overall body weight due to fat loss.

Fat loss is the more desirable, and healthier, form of weight loss. As regular weight loss can include water and muscle loss. And, as we know, maintaining your muscles is incredibly important in maintaining mobility, controlling inflammation, and supporting healthy blood sugar throughout your life.

You can increase the likelihood of losing fat by eating a diet full of protein and creating a calorie deficit through calorie intake reduction and physical activity. Unfortunately, a standard scale won’t be able to tell you whether you’re losing fat or not. However! An InBody Analysis is one great way to obtain an in-depth look into your skeletal muscle mass and body fat to make sure you’re only losing fat and not muscle.

Creating your weight loss plan:

It can be hard to decide how to structure your weight loss plan. Instead, why not trust the experts and let the Johnson Center do it for you?

Our team at the Johnson Center is committed to creating an individualized weight loss plan for patients who need it. By using a detailed personal history, bloodwork and microbiome analysis, and genetic testing, Dr. Johnson will create a personalized plan just for YOU.

This plan will also include a nutrigenomic diet. Many studies have proven the long-lasting benefits and superiority of the nutrigenomic diet when compared to other types of diets. The nutrigenomic diet has the long-standing power to allow for a slow, gradual progression of weight loss and overall health improvements.

Moreover, nutrigenomics is the only dietary plan that will precisely identify the patterns and imbalances of your unique metabolism and use nutrients to suppress the expression of disease, illness, and other unhealthy patterns. Nutrigenomics informs us which nutrients and foods will influence our genes toward health and protect our DNA from damage.

For example, we all know that inflammation can lead to chronic diseases but you may not know that there are many different genes that regulate specific inflammatory pathways. Knowing your DNA blueprint will allow us to target these pathways with specific foods that will reduce inflammation and decrease your risk of chronic disease.

Your genetics also determine how you respond to nutrients. This is why the “one size fits all” diet does not work. Your individual genetic make-up may predispose you to a particular disease process that may be prevented by personalized nutrition.

Weight loss maintenance strategies:

Weight loss is hard and often a timely endeavor. But is also often well worth it in the end. The best way to ensure your weight loss will last is through the development of sustainable healthy behavior.

Here are some of our tips to prevent weight gain and keep you on the weight loss path:

  • Find an activity you enjoy → Be it walking, biking, swimming, dancing, or playing outside, having fun while you’re staying physically active is a great way to ensure weight maintenance.

  • Prioritize sleep → As we know, sleep is absolutely essential to obtaining optimal health. It’s nearly impossible to drop pounds if your body is already sleep-deprived.

  • Keep healthy snacks at home → Stocking your fridge with healthy fruits and veggies instead of sodas and chips is a great way to keep you on track with your dietary plan.

  • Eat whole foods → Keeping your diet free of processed foods and sticking to whole foods like veggies, whole grains, and lean meats is a great way to keep you feeling full while also stuffing your body full of nutrients.

  • Keep stress levels low → Stress is also another major sabotager when it comes to weight loss. Stress and high cortisol levels can keep you from losing weight and even make you gain it.

Trust us, we know that weight loss is a difficult and often emotional process. Stop the endless searching for new diets or workout fads to try, and instead trust a weight loss plan made just for you by the experts at the Johnson Center.

If you're interested in weight loss or genomic testing at the Johnson Center, click here to learn more! Or contact us or email our office at

The Johnson Center for Health services patients in-person in our Blacksburg and Virginia Beach / Norfolk locations. We also offer telemedicine for residents of Virginia and North Carolina!


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