I hate hearing this as much as you do, though I know its true. Fast weight loss is all you want when you’ve got a whole week to get ready for a big event, and while there are ways to slim down just a bit in that short a time frame, none of them are a really good idea.

If you are that desperate to look good, schedule a great haircut and a facial, and go pick out an outfit that will make you look terrific just the way you are. Get some extra sleep and do things that make you feel good about yourself. You’ll actually look much better, and be MUCH more fun to be around, than if you starve yourself or mess with your metabolism.

By “slow” weight loss, I mean one or two pounds a week. Any more than two pounds a week and you are not in the slow weight loss category. Also, I’d like to point out that if you are a 120 pound woman losing two pounds a week, you are losing weight a heck of a lot more quickly than a 250 pound man who is losing two pounds a week. You get to decide what is “slow” and what is “fast” for you.

Here are the major reasons why slow weight loss is better:

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1) Slow weight loss is more effective than fast weight loss

Fast weight loss is another word for “yo-yo dieting”. The core problem here is that you gain back all the weight you lost, and usually a little bit more. Fast weight loss, in the vast majority of cases, simply does not work beyond the time you’re on the diet. The second you are done without whatever fast weight reduction regime you’ve picked, you start putting the weight back on again. What’s worse, for many people (especially those who have done a lot of these kinds of diets), you gain back a little bit more wieght than you lost. This is because your extreme dieting slowed your metabolism down a bit, so when you start piling the food back on, your body actually burns it slower than it did before you undertook the crash diet.

2) Slow weight loss is kinder to your skin

Fast weight loss (or gain) is the short-list of things dermatologists tell their patients to never do. Fast weight loss makes your skin slack, and if you are doing a weird, unhealthy diet, it will also affect your skin tone. Slow weight loss gives your skin (whether its your cheeks or your belly) time to pull back into place.

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3) Slow weight loss builds the habits that keep weight off

To really lose weight permanently, you have to change how you eat and how you live. There’s no way around it. How you make your those permanent changes is the path we all take towards our ideal, happy weight. Slow weight loss makes you do the work to find changes that you can live with long-term. These new habits, like going for a walk after work or like eating an apple in the late afternoon, are what makes the weight loss happen. It is the building of the habits, not the one-time act of eating an apple on March 17th, that gets you thinner. Fast weight loss does not instill these kinds of long-term habits.