On The Table

A collection of knowledge-based articles to inspire overall wellness.

Losing Weight Quickly Can be Bad for Your Health

It’s happened to almost all of us at some point. You look at yourself in the mirror and are struck with the realization that you should try to lose weight, and fast. Too often, though our focus is on losing weight quickly vs losing weight the healthy way.

Losing Weight Quickly Can be Bad for Your Health

Dropping eight pounds in one week seems like a high accomplishment, right? Losing weight quickly and fast can in fact be achieved but at what cost? The measures taken to shed off the weight can be harmful and even potentially harmful. Are the loose-fitting clothes really worth the negative effects caused by losing weight fast?

How Losing Weight Quickly Can Be Bad for the Body

Fad diets and calorie restriction may help you lose weight quickly. Consequently, their impacts might trigger harmful body reactions. Diuretic and laxative use are common drugs used for weight control, although not their purpose. Diuretics help stimulate kidney function and urine production while laxatives work to relieve constipation by increasing gastrointestinal movement. Generally, an abrupt drop of the scale is due to water weight, not fat loss. Long-term use of laxatives can damage the gastrointestinal wall and cause irreversible constipation, the sole purpose of laxative use. Damage to the kidneys may follow with long-term use of diuretics.

Others individuals resort to extreme calorie restriction. Extreme calorie restriction can be extremely harmful. Calories and nutrients act like gas to a car, allowing the car to start and run. When the car runs out of gas, it simply shuts down and can only run when fueled again. Without calories and nutrients, the body suffers the same way as a car and can become fatigued and shut down. The body also starts to look for other sources of energy, such as lean muscle. Unfortunately, precious muscle mass can be compromised during periods of starvation. Depriving the body of vitamins and minerals can ultimately lead to irregular heart beats, muscle cramps, and bone mass losses.

Safety First

For some individuals, dropping weight quickly might be necessary for medical purposes. However, it is only typically advised by a healthcare professional and under their medical supervision. For generally healthy individuals, quick weight loss can do more harm than good and should be disregarded.

Healthy weight loss may seem slow, with a general recommendation of losing one to two pounds per work. Unlike extreme dieting, though, a slow weight loss helps establish long-life lifestyle changes and sustaining weight loss and maintenance. To lose one pound, the body needs to burn an additional 3,500 calories per week, or 500 calories per day (500 calories X 7 days = 3,500 calories). The deficit can be achieved by a healthy diet and exercise. Simple lifestyle changes will make calorie reduction a little easier and simpler. Instead of grabbing a calorically-dense slice of apple pie, warm up apple slices with a few dashes of cinnamon for a low-calorie, yet still sweet treat. Swap out the lemon-lime sugary soda for water flavored with lemon and lime wedges.