February 4, 2019

The danger of extreme dieting for fast weight loss

Diet | Health Tips

This post is part of the Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle

Perhaps you have been told you need to lose weight for health purposes. Maybe you just want to shed a few pounds for summer or a class reunion, or maybe you just had a baby and the weight isn’t coming off as you hoped. No matter the case, it’s normal to want to lose weight and sometimes all you can focus on is how fast you can lose it.

In these moments of desperation, it’s tempting to try extreme weight loss methods, that come with taglines such as ‘how to lose weight fast in two weeks’, ‘drop one dress size in a day’ or even ‘eat as much as you want —and still lose weight!’

The reality of the situation is that drastic weight loss methods usually don’t achieve long-term weight loss goals.

Jessica Moosbrugger, OrthoIndy clinical nutrition manager and dietitian, shares her concerns with rapid weight loss and her opinions on the best way to lose weight.

Can losing weight too fast be dangerous?

“It depends on what you consider fast weight loss and how much weight you want to lose. If you are obese and have a lot of weight to lose, it might come off faster than someone who needs to lose less weight. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unsafe,” said Jessica.

“However, if you are starving yourself, that’s not healthy and you won’t achieve long-term goals. In fact, it could put you in danger of other health risks.”

Risks of drastic weight loss methods:

  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle loss
  • Drop in metabolism rate
  • Menstrual irregularities in women

Losing one to two pounds per week is healthy and safe for the average person. However, ask your doctor or a dietitian for advice on how to find a diet that meets your needs and weight loss goals. Based on your weight and health, he or she will recommend a healthy and realistic plan to follow.

“People that lose weight slowly are more likely to keep it off long-term and have fewer health risks,” said Jessica. “Many people who try crash diets are pleased with the results at first, but then find it impossible to keep the weight-off and often gain the weight back and sometimes more.”

Best weight loss diet

Trying to eat paleo or following a keto diet are two popular methods many people are following right now to lose or maintain weight. These methods may be sustainable for some people. However, there isn’t a secret diet or one size fits all nutrition plan to weight loss. The best weight loss diet simply comes down to reducing calories, eating nutritious foods and adding exercise to your routine.

“The most important part about finding a weight loss plan for you, is that you enjoy it,” said Jessica. “Find healthy foods you enjoy eating and find ways to be active that don’t cause you stress. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is to do it in a way you enjoy and find sustainable for the rest of your life.”

Ways to lose weight without dieting

Don’t be intimidated by the word diet. Dieting doesn’t mean you need to be strict on every single thing you eat or that you should be following a specific meal plan or exercise regimen. Dieting can simply mean changing your lifestyle so you eat more fruits and vegetables.

“Losing weight doesn’t mean dieting until the weight comes off and then going back to old habits,” said Jessica. “It’s truly focusing on changing your lifestyle so you are healthier now and in the future. Technically every person is following a diet, they just need to make sure it’s a healthy and nutritious one that they can sustain the rest of their lives.”

How to lose weight fast and easy

Find a healthy diet and exercise plan that fits your needs and schedule. Don’t fall for fad diets that you can’t follow the rest of your life. Find healthy foods you love and activities that you enjoy. Then, hold yourself accountable for making those changes. The only person you are selling short by not going for your goals is yourself. Make a promise and stick to it.

How to hold yourself accountable to lose weight

  • Keep detailed notes about your progress
  • Be aware of the triggers that may cause you to fall off your plan
  • Make weekly goals and check them off daily
  • Use a food diary
  • Share your diet goals with someone close to you and update them regularly
  • Allow yourself small rewards

“Losing weight is difficult,” said Jessica. “But it’s not impossible. Take time to change your unhealthy lifestyle habits into healthy ones, rather than jumping on a fad diet to lose weight fast. Life is meant to be enjoyed with good food and fun activity, rather than feelings of exhaustion.”

Create a positive self-image (and love your body)

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Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000
Megan Golden

By Megan Golden

Megan Golden worked at OrthoIndy from 2012 to 2019, where she wrote a variety of content for our blog, magazines and inbound campaigns. Megan graduated from Ball State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising and communications studies minor.

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