dangers of quick weight loss

Slow and Steady Wins the Weight Loss Race

Quite often when clients express an interest in losing excess body fat, they want it to happen immediately. In addition to drastically increasing exercise frequency or intensity, many will also cut calories, sometimes down to under 1000 calories per day.

These behaviors shock the body and often do result in rapid weight loss, sometimes as much as five pounds per week. However, because these changes are so extreme, the body may resist by sending signals to slow the metabolism, increase hunger-promoting hormones, and break down any available fuel source in the body, including muscle tissue.

Dangers of Quick Weight Loss

These effects present as decreased energy, difficulty concentrating, irritability, and poor self control around high-calorie foods. Most people will then give up on dietary restraint completely and gain back all of the weight they lost (and sometimes more). Repeating this cycle over and over again is known as “yo-yo dieting.”

While all of the above side effects are enough reason to reconsider drastic dietary changes, recent research demonstrates that there can be even worse consequences when a person’s weight fluctuates greatly over and over again. A study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine reported the following alarming statistic:

“People who experience regular weight fluctuations of 8 to 10 pounds are much more likely to suffer from heart disease, heart attack, stroke and other heart-related maladies than people who only experienced shifts of 2 pounds or less.”

The suggested reason for these results is that continuously disrupting the body’s homeostatsis (or internal balance) puts a lot of stress on our body systems, especially the cardiovascular system.

Long-Term Goals

The key takeaway from this new research is that you should view weight loss as a result of long-term dietary and lifestyle changes and not as a goal achieved through extreme caloric deprivation and over-training. Otherwise, you may be risking your cardiovascular health in addition to regaining lost weight.

A safe rate of weight loss is typically one to two pounds per week. For more information on how you can lose weight safely, please e-mail me or leave a comment on the “Contact” page.

To read more about the research referenced in this article, please view the link below:


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