According to Google’s Keyword Tool almost 3,000 people search for the phrases “quick weight loss” and “fast weight loss” every day on the Internet. And sure, almost anyone can lose extra pounds quickly following a strict diet over a short period of time, but the hard part about losing weight rapidly is keeping it off. Health experts say 95 percent of dieters who lose weight fast gain back the extra pounds just as quickly as they lost them.
Unfortunately, many overweight people still want the quick fix. Desperate dieters hear or read stories about others who miraculously lose several pounds fast, and then they look fit and fabulous. The truth about these fat to fit fast stories mostly exists in the marketing ploys of companies who want to take money from people who desperately want to look slim in a short amount of time.
Although in a few cases doctors recommend shedding pounds quickly, here’s what health experts warn for most people about quick weight loss:
- You’ll lose mostly water weight and muscle if you opt to try and slim down too quickly. Most health experts agree dropping pounds quickly means your loss will consist of “glycogen stores, water and body protein,” says Jennifer O’Dea in the Nutridate article “Fad Weight Loss Diets.” According to the MayoClinic‘s article “Fast Weight Loss: What’s Wrong With It,” it’s just too difficult for the body to burn too many fat calories in a short period of time. The best way to lose weight consists of not losing more than two pounds a week. At this rate your body won’t store fat for energy because it believes it’s living during a time of famine.
- You may weaken your bones and increase the chances for osteoporosis. According to the Shape article “Crash Diets: Ineffective and Unhealthy,” In a study from the University of Missouri researchers found that dieters who dropped pounds quickly had more “bone turnover” (the rate at which bone is broken down and replaced). That effect could possibly increase the risk for fractures and osteoporosis.
- You may affect your health. The health risks of dropping pounds quickly are gallstones, anemia, bowel irregularities and an irregular heart beat, according to the Weight Watchers‘ article “Losing Weight at a Safe Rate.” Other side effects can include dizziness, muscle cramps, constipation, diarrhea and dehydration.
- You’ll probably affect your metabolism and appearance. When you cut your calories to fewer than 1,200 or 1,000 a day, the body goes into survival mode where it lowers the metabolism to maintain life on inadequate rations of food, says Tina Botnick who runs a Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Weight Control Program. Then to compensate “the body quits growing hair and eyelashes.” Crash dieting also affects the skin and could cause it to have a gray or yellow tone rather than a healthy ruddy one (qtd. in Bates).
It’s best to avoid getting slim quickly. To drop pounds effectively, lose weight slowly and talk with your doctor about a weight loss program that’s healthy and that will help you stay fit permanently.
Bates, Karen Grigsby. “A Crashing Loss.” Los Angeles Times Magazine. August 12, 1999.
“Crash Diets: Ineffective and Unhealthy.” Shape. January 2009, Vol. 28 Issue 5, pg. 100.
Genge, Amanda. “Losing Weight at a Safe Rate.” Weight Watchers.
Hensrud, Donald. “Fast Weight Loss: What’s Wrong With It.” MayoClinic.
O’Dea, Jennifer. “Fad Weight Loss Diets.” Nutridate. Mar2003, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p1, 4p.