From diet programs to detox teas, so many products promise instant gratification when it comes to transforming your body. But is it actually possible to lose a substantial amount of weight in a healthy way. For many people who lose a large amount of weight rapidly, unsuccessfully keep it off. In fact, most people, upon returning back to ‘normal’ diet, gain back more than they initially drop.
Instead, research from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health in the US recommends a slow and steady slim-down approach that vaporises one to two pounds per week.
It takes a deficit of approximately 3,500 calories to shed one pound of fat, therefore cutting your daily intake by 500 calories should lead to weight loss of a pound per week. When people lose weight slowly, it’s usually due to making sustainable behavioural and lifestyle changes, as opposed to crash diets with unhealthy restrictions.
Here's how slimming down ASAP can have negative effects:
YOU CAN BECOME HIGHLY STRESSED
Eating less than your body needs triggers the production of the stress hormone, cortisol. Stress drives up appetite and can increase fat storage, especially around the middle.
YOUR METABOLISM SLOWS WAY DOWN
Rapid weight loss plays mind games with your body: Our body recognises caloric deprivation as an external famine and flips on its metabolic survival switch, telling your metabolism to slow down to conserve energy. In other words, your body goes into starvation mode and stores more fat, hitting you with a weight-gain.
A recent study tracked how this played out with participants in The Biggest Loser and the results were chilling: The more pounds contestants lost, the lazier their metabolisms grew.
As the weight piled back on, their calorie-burning capacity only continued to diminish. Six years later, many were heavier than before they’d even started the show.
YOU WANT TO EAT EVERYTHING
When you go on a crash diet, your levels of leptin, a hormone that controls hunger, plummet. As a result, you’re ravenous, obsessed with food, and primed to binge.
MUSCLE TONE & DEFINITION WILL BE A DISTANT DREAM
Cut calories too fast and your muscle tone will seriously suffer. When you don't eat enough, your body resorts to using muscle mass for fuel.
Besides losing that sexy, toned look, dropping muscle mass actually decreases how much fat you burn. The less tissue you have, the more likely you are to sabotage your get-slim goals. As your skeletal muscles become less efficient, you’ll burn fewer calories through movement. Plus, your muscles help make workouts more intense and effective. Without them, you’ll lack the strength and stamina to push yourself through that last mile on the treadmill or rally for those hill sprints.
A 10-pound weight loss is mostly from water or stool being eliminated, and is not body fat loss. Water weighs approximately eight pounds a gallon, and this rapid loss of fluids can lead to dehydration.
H2O, of course, is crucial for physical function. It eliminates toxins, delivers nutrients, facilitates digestion, etc. When your stores of water are depleted, you’ll likely have to contend with side effects like headaches, constipation, muscle cramps, and low energy. All of which hinder your ability to work, exercise, and enjoy life in general.
Ideally your aim is to lose one to two pounds per week, but that pace might still be too tough if you're nearing your goal. The closer you are to your healthy weight, the slower you should lose. That prevents your body from fighting to hold onto extra fat.
For clients actively pursuing weight loss, a recommendation is losing at a rate of 5 to 10 percent of their body weight every six months.
At Paragon, we encourage and support our clients on eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising regularly, reducing stress, and getting adequate rest. If you do those four things, in addition to addressing any emotional eating, the weight will come off and stay off.
We understand people want instant-results, but give yourself permission to take a little more time reaching your weight goals, and get there in a healthy, sustainable way.
Your body will thank you for it.