It’s quite common to see people signing up for crash diets every other week, as they yearn to trim their waistline to a desirable size as fast as they possibly can. You’ll find advertisements promoting weight loss in 7 days or even lesser time. Rapid weight loss might sound like the best solution, but it’s better to stay away from it. A slow and steady method works wonders when it comes to weight loss. Rapid weight loss has many side effects, so if you want to shed some pounds, have some patience!
HealthShots reached out to fitness expert Varun Rattan and Dr Hemanth Kumar Kasaragod, Additional Director, MAS & Bariatric Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Delhi, to find out if it is unhealthy to lose weight quickly.
Average time frame for women to lose weight
Generally speaking, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for women to lose weight in a healthy way. It is not unusual to wish for rapid weight loss when attempting to slim down. However, people who aim for a slower and more consistent rate of reduction (around 0.5 to 1 kg a week) tend to maintain their desired weight for a longer period, says Rattan.
Side effects of losing weight quickly
1. Your metabolism drastically drops below normal levels
The metabolism is our body’s process to burn the calories we consume. A metabolism that’s gone haywire can damage the body’s ability to keep the weight off in the long run, says Dr Kasaragod. We will also feel tired and lethargic all the time.
2. You will find it more difficult to sustain weight loss
Healthy weight loss is about losing fat and not the muscle mass in a safe and sustainable way. If weight loss is achieved too quickly, it becomes more difficult to sustain it, says Rattan.
3. You may start to cut away from muscle mass, instead of fat
When we stoop our calorie intake suddenly, we might see that number on the scale drop down like a rock. But it’s never good to know that it’s not just fat you’ve been losing. You’ve lost all your muscle mass which in turn decreases your strength.
4. You’re most likely missing out on essential nutrients
Our body’s organs require essential nutrients. Be it protein, carbohydrates or fat, they are needed for proper functioning of our body. They may also need a whole array of vitamins and minerals to function at their best. When you don’t supply calories or outright cut out fundamental food groups such as carbohydrates or dairy, you risk having:
- Problems in the digestive system like constipation
- Early exhaustion, fatigue, and energy loss
- A loss of bone density and lowering of strength
- Risk of losing immunity
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
5. You can easily become dehydrated
Some diets can put focus mainly on food items which might invoke neglect in water intake (hydration myths). So, you can get dehydrated easily.
6. Your mental health will take a toll
Losing weight quickly has its own set of psychological impacts. If you don’t have adequate time to nestle yourself into your new body shape and weight, you might get hit by acceptance issues, says Dr Kasaragod. You might even end up having eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia.
Fitness is way more than just picking up fads and jumping on the latest bandwagon you see pass by. We all can certainly be kinder to ourselves if we choose a slower, yet a more progressive strategy for weight loss and always focus on being healthy.