Be aware of the dangers of rapid weight loss because in your haste to lose weight you could be putting your health at risk.
Let’s face it, we’re all looking for a quick fix and anything that promises one looks attractive. The weight loss industry is a case in point.
There are all sorts of diets, potions, pills and powders promising that you can lose 14 pounds in a week, a pound a day…all sorts of outrageous claims.
Now, you can actually lose a lot of weight quickly. However, most of it’s water and you’ll soon put it on again once you start eating normally again.
The healthy amount of weight you can lose each week is 1-2 lbs. People with higher metabolic rates, large men with a lot of muscle for instance may lose more as can very obese people.
We’ve had large male clients who’ve consistently lost an average of 3 lbs a week and one of our female clients who weighed 281lbs, lost 16lbs in her first month.
However, you need to realise that when you lose weight you lose both fat and muscle as well as a lot of water.
As a rule, the slower you lose the weight, the higher the proportion of fat lost – around 70-80% fat, 20-30% muscle.
The more rapid the weight loss, the higher the proportion of water in the first few weeks and the more muscle in the medium to long term.
So is rapid weight loss a good idea and what are the dangers of rapid weight loss?
The Dangers of Rapid Weight Loss
Losing muscle is the last thing you want when trying to lose weight.
Muscle is responsible for most of the calories you burn each day. Lose muscle and you burn fewer calories at rest, leaving you more likely to gain weight in future.
The Yo-yo Effect
The quicker you lose the weight, the more quickly it goes on again.
People who lose weight quickly get drawn into the yo-yo dieting scenario where they quickly lose weight, put it on again, lose weight, put it on again…the problem is that each successive period of dieting becomes less and less effective as your body learns and adapts.
It thinks you’re starving and quickly slows down your metabolism to conserve energy. In our experience, yo-yo dieters go to more and more extreme lengths to lose weight as each diet becomes less effective.
Most of the weight you lose in the first week or two of a diet is water. Your body uses its stored carbohydrates (glycogen) in the early stages of a diet, and one part of glycogen is stored with three parts of water.
If you don’t drink plenty of water you’ll become dehydrated with all the health risks that that entails. Dehydration is one of the most acute dangers of rapid weight loss.
Around 1 in 3 people will suffer from kidney stones at some point in their life and 75% of kidney stones are due to an inadequate water intake.
People who lose weight rapidly and do this repeatedly are at a greater risk of developing kidney stones, which are excruciatingly painful!
Rapid weight loss leaves your body deprived of essential nutrients and as such impairs its ability to function at its best.
You’ll feel lethargic and lacking in energy, you’ll find it harder to concentrate and will be irritable and grouchy.
Whatsmore, you’ll be more likely to binge as your body craves food to get the nutrients it needs.
Lose weight gradually and your skin has time to shrink to your new shape. Lose it too quickly and you’ll have excess skin that can only be gotten rid of by surgery – which carries a whole raft of risks in itself!
There’s a worrying trend amongst some dieters to try some pretty extreme methods to lose weight quickly.
One of the dangers of rapid weight loss, particularly when it becomes a habit can be eating disorders – compulsive behaviors like binging, fasting, purging. All of which are on the increase.
when you lose weight quickly you are effectively starving yourself. If this is prolonged or becomes increasingly severe, it’s unlikely that your body will be able to get the calcium it needs from your diet. It will start to leach it from your bones, weakening them and leaving you more prone to injury.
In Extreme Cases You Can Actually Die!
People who fast to achieve rapid weight loss can become seriously ill or die if their water intake is too low. It only takes a matter of days.
Depending on your fat and muscle reserves, you could live for up to a year without food, although a month or so would see off most people.
So, Clear on the Dangers of Rapid Weight Loss…?
Why risk it? Take your time, stick to a healthy weight loss plan and you can actually lose weight – mostly body fat – feel great, and keep the weight off in the long term.
Patience is a virtue, so accept that a pound or two a week is a fantastic result and don’t be tempted to crash diet.
It just doesn’t work, is downright unhealthy and the dangers of rapid weight loss all too real.