why you should never try for fast weight loss-1
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You must have seen those beautiful before-after body transformation pictures often circulate in social media. What made you think? I wish I could have got this amazing result too. Is it? 

Well, I can’t blame you. After all, who does not want a lean, slim, attractive figure? But have you ever seen the photos of that person after 2 years of that “amazing “transformation? 

Probably no. Who cares – especially when a super sale is going like 5kg/ 10 kg/ 15 kg/ 20 kg/ 30 kg weight loss within a few days and weeks?

However, you must consider that aspect first before you sign for any such diet plan.

why you should never try for fast weight loss

In this blog, I will try to explain –

  1. How do these fast weight loss plans work?
  2. What are the warning sign and initial side effects of your fast weight loss diet plan?
  3. How these fast weight loss plans impact your body in the long term?
  4. What you should be doing?

Before I get into the impact of this fast weight loss diet plan, I would like to ask you WHY? Why you want to lose weight. 

You may want to lose weight for the following reason – 

  • You want to look good, more attractive.
  • You want to improve your general health and fitness level
  • Doctors advised you to lose weight for health reasons – to control type 2 diabetes, hypertension, PCOD, fertility, etc.

Pick your reason and be absolutely sure why you are signing for this. 

How do these fast weight loss plans work? 

why you should never try for fast weight loss - how these plan works?

Diet plan for “5 kg weight loss in 7 days” or “20 kg weight loss in a month” – will push you to go for –

  1. Cleansing diet/ detox diet or,
  2. Very low-calorie diet (VLCD) or,
  3. Weight loss pill/ diet supplements

Cleansing diet/ detox diet or even a very low-calorie diet can give you instant weight loss for obvious reasons.

Cleansing/ detox diet put you on only various types of juices / herbal tea etc. Basically, they stop you from eating any solid.

Similarly, a very low-calorie diet (VLCD) also keeps you hungry; allow supplying much lesser calorie that you need to run your body to lose weight. The same thing happens when you stop eating because of illness or fever.

You stop eating for a few days and you will lose some weight. Glycogen stored in your liver, the muscle will start breaking down to supply fuel in order to run all the physiological and physical activities. Once glycogen stock gets depleted, your body starts breaking fat from adipose tissue and converted into glucose to use as fuel.

Don’t forget, glycogen in your body bound to water. Therefore when glycogen used up as fuel, the body releases that water too. That is why, after the first week of dieting you lose so much weight. (7, 8)

Diet supplements, weight loss pills either act by increasing your metabolism or by burning fat or by blocking the absorption of nutrients.

The point you must notice that none of the methods is natural and thus not sustainable. Therefore the same old story repeats itself – you lose weight to gain it back even more within a few months or years. What a struggle!! (9, 10 )

What are the warning sign and initial side effects of your fast weight loss diet plan?

why you should never try for fast weight loss - the warning sign of faulty diet

The first three days of any crash diet is the most difficult part for most of the people. You feel hungry, angry, irritated, the constant thought of food if not completely bogged down with other work… etc. Sounds relatable?

But it is should be a matter of concern if even after 72 hrs you continue to have these issues.

  • Do you feel like you can’t continue with this plan?
  • Do you feel too tired to exercise/ walk or to do any physical activity?
  • Do you feel angry, irritable, dizzy, lethargic throughout the day?
  • Do you think about food more than ever?
  • Do you feel acidic, bloated, constipated, nausea, etc?
  • Do you get a headache before mealtime?

If most of the answers are a “yes” then, it’s high time to quit your fast weight loss diet plan. Even if you ignore and stay focused to continue with the diet, 

  • Are you facing menstrual irregularity?
  • Are you losing muscle mass i.e your upper arm is getting shrieked but the tummy is intact? Losing muscle mass instead of fat.
  • Are you suddenly start losing hair?

If most of these answers are also a “yes” for you, that means the body is giving you a final call to stop the fast weight loss diet plan right away. (19)

How these fast weight loss plans impact your body in the long term?

why you should never try for fast weight loss- impact of fast weight loss diet plan

If you continue to follow such a detox plan/very low-calorie diet plan for a few months, you may invite a few more serious health hazards. You may hurt your organ and pay for it for the rest of your life. Let’s check the table below to understand the impact of an inadequate diet on your health – 

Body parts/ organ How does it affect
BoneBone mineral density reduced, bones become soft and porous due to lack of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D and other minerals. (17)
MuscleMuscle mass and muscle strength reduced. (4)
LiverRapid weight loss may develop liver injury and  fatty liver (20)
GallbladderRapid weight loss prevents the gallbladder from emptying, therefore there is a risk of forming gallstone. There are 12%-25% of cases where people have gallstone after rapid weight loss. (18)
SkinDry, lusterless skin due to lack of nutrients
HairHair thinning, uncontrolled hair fall (14, 15)

Besides these, dramatic weight loss often associates with dehydration, micronutrient deficiency, electrolyte imbalance, and suppressed immunity. (5, 6, 16)

Most importantly, your metabolism gets slower and there is always a good chance of getting all the weight back as soon as you start eating “normal”. (1, 2, 3)

What to do? 

why you should never try for fast weight loss - what to do?

Thinking of weight loss is not a crime. In fact, maintaining a healthy weight is always desirable for obvious reasons. 

The problem starts when you suddenly become impatient to lose weight almost overnight.

Let’s get back to the question I asked you at the beginning. Why do you want to lose weight? Get clarity on your objective for weight loss and make your strategy accordingly.

Don’t fall in a trap of rapid weight loss. Stop downloading a rapid weight loss diet plan. Even your body in need of rapid weight loss that has to be done under a qualified, trained professional.

If you try to do it on your own or with some “social media influencer”, You are going to hurt yourself – physically, physiologically, psychologically and of course financially.

If you ever see someone marketing themselves as “ lose 7 kg in 7 days” – be assured he/ she is not the right one for you. You will end up repenting.

No qualified or trained dietician/nutritionist will ever give you any guarantee for a particular weight loss. Advanced nutrition science talks about nutrigenomics, which tells us that the rate of response of a weight loss plan on your body depends on your gene.

Therefore be mindful, set an aim to be healthier and fitter, focus on slow weight management rather than fast weight loss. You will start losing weight as a byproduct. (11, 12, 13)

Losing 1% of your actual body weight per week is absolutely safe without causing any side effects. Now do your calculation, how much time you need minimum to reach your target weight.

Focus on developing good eating habits, modifying your regular diet into a balanced diet with the assistance of a trained nutritionist/dietician. Push yourself for a doable exercise plan, whatever you enjoy. Sleep deep and stress less. 

Adopt a sustainable diet and a healthy lifestyle. You will get your desired result soon. All the best.

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Dr. Soma Chakrabarty is based in Hyderabad. She has 15 yrs of working experience in nutrition. She guides people to modify eating behavior and achieve goals for wellness. She believes in a practical diet that helps people to live rather than survive.

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