While transforming into a slimmer, healthier version of yourself as quickly as possible might be a dream come true, experts advise against rapid weight loss.
But what could go wrong if you lose weight too quickly? Are they just minor inconveniences, or could they be life-threatening?
Let’s find out why losing weight fast is the problem.
Be Not Afraid of Growing Slowly, Be Afraid Only of Standing Still.
1. You May Lose Muscle Mass
Although there is a difference between losing fat and losing weight, your scale cannot make that distinction. Cutting back too many calories may help you lose weight quickly, but it’s also possible that you’ll lose a lot of muscle mass in the process.
As a result, instead of losing fat, a calorie deficit will force your body to break down muscle for fuel and energy. Since your muscles help you burn more calories, losing muscle mass will translate into fewer calories burnt and hamper effective weight loss.
2. You’re Losing Hair
While it’s common to shed around 50 to 100 hair strands daily, if you discover clumps of hair in the shower or notice your hair is thinning, rapid weight loss might be the one to blame. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, hair loss and hair shedding are two distinct conditions, with the former resulting from a deficiency.
For healthy hair growth, your diet must include zinc, protein, and iron. Super low-calorie diets cause hair loss since the body lacks sufficient nutrients and focuses on other essential organs instead.
3. Your Metabolism Slows Down
Your metabolism regulates your daily caloric intake. If you lose weight quickly, your body will begin saving energy to compensate for the energy lost and hang more onto fat. As a result, your metabolism slows down and you burn less calories each day, making it even easier to gain weight even when you eat less.
The risk is that cutting back even more won’t reap any benefits and may instead drop your metabolism further, damaging your health even more.
4. You Feel Ravenous
While fad diets promise to give you that body you always wanted, the happiness is lost when you’re feeling groggy and hungry all the time. While this is a way of your body telling you it needs food, it might also mess with your mind.
Leptin is a hormone in the body that controls hunger. A restrictive diet causes leptin levels to fluctuate, resulting in feelings of intense hunger and binge eating throughout the day.
5. Unrealistic Diet Plans
Restrictive diets are usually unhealthy and not sustainable in the long run. There is science-backed research that weight watchers who followed unrealistic weight loss programs ended up regaining most of their lost weight and even weighing more than they did earlier.
These quick fixes included extremely low-calorie foods, going to the gym seven days a week, etc. While most people will see drastic weight loss initially, they usually give up shortly. This happens because not only are these diets hard to follow, but they also don’t teach you to build healthy habits that will help you stay motivated on the road to weight loss.
6. You’re Always Thinking About Food
Even after controlling your cravings and eating a calorie restrictive diet, your mind doesn’t agree. According to studies, people who lose weight quickly find themselves having thoughts or even fantasizing about food.
This happens because when you lose weight fast, the brain constantly reminds us that our body is starving and needs to be fed, even if we aren’t hungry.
7. You Have Frequent Headaches
Sometimes sudden weight loss can contribute to dehydration or low blood sugar, both of which can trigger headaches. These headaches, often known as hunger headaches, happen when you eat less, fast, or skip meals.
8. It’s Not Sustainable
Weight loss is not a one-time thing, but rather a lifestyle change. While most people resort to unusual diets and vigorous exercise to attain rapid weight loss, it isn’t a sustainable model.
Instead of trying to lose weight fast, you should develop healthier habits that will help you reduce weight over time.
9. Gut Problems
Generally, eliminating unhealthy food from your diet would make for a healthier, happier gut. However, speedy weight loss may have the opposite effect. Anecdotal evidence suggests that people who lost pounds at a sped-up pace suffered from stomach cramps, nausea, bloating, and even constipation.
Because certain fast-fix diets are poor in fiber, they might induce dehydration. Losing weight fast may also increase your risk of developing gallstones which can cause pain in the abdomen.
10. Your Hormones Are Off
Depriving your body of proper nutrition may cause your hormones to go haywire. From acne flare ups, mood swings, sleep issues, depression to irregular menstrual cycles, rapid weight loss can throw your body out of whack.
Hence, women who’ve lost weight too quickly might experience irregular periods or even stop having them altogether.
How Fast Is Too Fast?
Generally, the issue with losing weight too fast is that it’s unsustainable long term. While most experts encourage losing 1 to 2 pounds each week, this is more of a yardstick. Even if you end up losing 5 pounds in the first week, it’s not a cause for concern unless this pattern persists over the next few weeks.
You can track your weight loss over a few weeks, then calculate your average weight loss per week. If you’re averaging three or more pounds per week, it might be too fast.
Often, quick weight loss fixes may appear to seem like you’re losing weight rapidly. Unfortunately, once you discontinue, all the weight may come back, discouraging you and making it even harder to lose the weight again. Who would’ve thought losing weight fast was bad?
Instead of looking for shortcuts and fad diets, perhaps concentrate your efforts on increasing the variety and quality of your food and develop the habit of eating healthy, so that any weight you lose is much more sustainable.