How Safe is Rapid Weight Loss?

Copyright 2010

Rapid weight loss may not be your best choice. How you choose to lose weight can greatly affect your overall health.Much of the dieting culture in the Western world is obsessed with rapid weight loss; seeking quick solutions to long-term problems. As proof, one needs to look no further than the constant promises of quick weight loss proposed by nearly every fad diet to reach popularity.

It’s not enough that some dieting programs make less-than-accurate claims – you can eat whatever you want, you don’t have to exercise, you’ll never gain the weight back – but they also often use time as a selling point. Specifically, they claim that dieters can expect to see their weight plummet and that they’ll have their perfect bodies within just a month or two.

Who wouldn’t love to achieve a set of rock-hard abs and a beach-ready waist in just a couple of months? It’s easy to understand how people could be seduced by these claims.

Unfortunately, these promises just don’t reflect reality; not only is it unreasonable to expect to lose weight very quickly without much effort, but even if the dieter does manage to lose weight at an accelerated rate, he or she may be doing more harm than good.

It’s tempting to go on a crash diet so that you’ll look great for that upcoming wedding or social event, but there are several reasons why losing weight too quickly is a bad idea. First, rapid weight loss generally involves heavy caloric restriction on the part of the dieter, meaning that he or she consumes far fewer calories than is recommended. This plan may result in the dieter seeing the scale numbers drop, but it’s ultimately unhealthy because the body is starved for energy.

In situations like these, the dieter’s body is more likely to store food as fat because of the lack of food that it’s receiving, and it’s also more likely to prey on lean tissue to meet its energy needs. Thus, a very low-calorie diet not only encourages the body to store fat, but it reduces the dieter’s muscle mass; that might not sound like a bad thing, but lean muscle tissue is what gives a healthy body its “toned” appearance and keeps our metabolic rates stable. Therefore, it’s important to preserve muscle mass in order to keep our bodies looking their best.

Rapid weight loss through crash dieting is never a good idea. Weight loss that includes a healthy eating program is always best.Most rapid weight loss diets operate on the concept of quickly dropping the body’s natural water weight. They may offer a quick loss of 10 or even 20 pounds, but the majority of this lost weight actually comes from the depletion of the body’s stores of carbohydrates and the protein stored in its muscle tissue. Unfortunately, this weight is destined to come back as the dieter resumes a more normal eating pattern, and may even cause him or her to regain more weight than before.

Rapid weight loss on a crash diet is also likely to cause health problems. Common symptoms that arise from an unhealthy rate of weight loss include becoming sick more frequently, thinning hair, an increased risk of developing eating disorders, and the appearance of gallstones. For women, crash dieting may even affect the menstrual cycle. It’s clear that there are quite a few health risks associated with rapid weight loss; ask yourself if it’s worth taking those risks before embarking on a diet that promises weight loss that sounds too good to be true.

Health practitioners agree that a good general guideline for healthy weight loss is 1-2 pounds per week. You may experience accelerated weight loss when first undertaking a new diet, but this will likely slow down fairly quickly. Making sensible choices in terms of diet and exercise, and thus losing weight at a reasonable rate, is always preferable to rapid weight loss and a crash diet, as you are more likely to reap the benefits of good health and establish good habits that will keep you feeling great.

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