Please don’t hurt yourself trying to lose weight. We don’t have to look far to find someone who is on a diet, or thinking about starting a diet. In fact, a recent Gallup survey noted 45% of Americans are trying to lose weight.
We also don’t have to look very far to find a new ‘revolutionary’ weight-loss program that promises super-fast and super-easy results. Many times, these ‘revolutionary’ weight-loss programs deliver shocking short-term results.
Before I continue, let me specify what I’m referring to as “fast weight loss.” This is any program that results in weight loss greater than one to two pounds per week.
Why is this type of weight loss program a bad idea?
The problem with fast weight loss (and the reason it never works in the long run) is that your body isn’t designed to lose weight fast. As soon as you try to do it, some significant changes happen in your body.
1. Your Hormones are signaled by your fat
- Not all body fat is bad for you, and ALL of it has a purpose.
- Stored body fat is in direct proportion to a hormone called leptin. This hormone controls appetite, modulates metabolism and promotes fat burning.
- When fat levels drop quickly, leptin levels drop quickly as well, and your body is triggered to believe you are starving. That shuts down systems and makes your body do everything it can to conserve energy and stop you from losing more weight.
2. Nutritional deficiency from fast weight loss
- Restrictive, extreme low-calorie diets are usually deficient in necessary vitamins/minerals.
- Lack of vitamins leads to unhealthy skin, hair, and nails… along with a suppressed immune system. That means you’re more likely to get, and stay, sick. Then, your workouts, become less productive, or even skipped, further halting your weight loss efforts.
- Lack of minerals can lead to irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps and loss of bone mass. This can also inhibit your exercise routine, lead to premature fatigue and slow your recovery process.
- Lack of adequate protein and amino acid intake can inhibit your muscle growth and possibly reduce your existing lean muscle mass. Since muscle is metabolically active tissue, your metabolism is powered by this precious tissue. When you lose muscle, your metabolism slows down and makes it even harder to keep the weight off.
3. Psychological Complications from fast weight loss
- Severe restriction is not sustainable in the long-term, and is known to lead dieters into a binge/restrict cycle – the body fighting with the mind to try to get enough nutrients to survive. It’s only a matter of time before your willpower breaks, and often leads to a pattern of binge eating followed by guilt, then emotionally driven guilt binge eating.
- This cycle very often leads to severely disordered thinking about food and weight, and frequently into eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
- Restrictive diets can become socially excluding – you’re so worried about your food that you’re not enjoying life with your family and friends.
The good news is weight loss and a life of healthy maintenance is possible but, you can’t do it by buying into the marketing promises put out by businesses intent on making a quick and easy profit. Fast weight loss harms your body, it harms your mind, AND in 97% of cases it leads to regaining not only the weight you lost, but more weight on top of it (that’s leptin at work, trying to keep you safe!).
Want to lose weight, and keep it off for good?
Check out the new program that we are running at ForeverStrong. Currently, we are on Week 4 (out of 12). I’ll be starting the 12-week program again soon, where we’ll focus on establishing Healthy Habits and creating a road map to sane, slow, sustainable weight loss and lifetime weight maintenance. Click Here to find out more.
~By Kelly Scott
Resource: Mayo Clinic