Rapid Weight loss – The Truth
Rapid Weight Loss – The Truth
“FAD diets and poorly controlled extreme weight loss course“
Over two thirds of the UK population is either overweight or obese. It is estimated that by 2030 this figure will rise to over 70%! In a time where we know more about our nutritional needs than ever, how can this possibly be the case?! Diets/FADS, food marketing companies, ever changing government guidelines, and people becoming increasingly lazy are the main contributors. This short article will look at the dangers of common extreme weight loss/FAD diets which people are using for quick fix results.
As tempting as it is to strive for results as fast as possible when trying to lose weight, it is not the way to go! In the modern day there are countless FAD diets encouraging rapid weight loss and whilst you may initially lose the weight, it can come with a number of health risks and it is not going to be sustainable. What is the point in losing 15lbs for you to put it back on as soon as you finish a diet which cannot be maintained for a long period of time?! FAD diets, crash diets of whatever you want to call them are money making schemes targeting vulnerable and often desperate people who are looking for an easy fix to lose weight. Think of the research you put into buying a new car or house – your body deserves even more attention!
Here is how to spot a FAD diet:
- Magic or miracle pills
- Little or no exercise
- Rapid weight loss courses
- Limited ‘menus’ and good foods/bad foods
- Shake meal replacements
- If it sounds too good to be true
- Starvation diets
- liquid diets
- Meal Replacements
We now live in a world where the question of ‘what to eat’ has become overly complex and people will often seek expert advice. The multi-billion pound food and supplement industry brainwashes people about the latest lab made product which comes with a whole host of health claims – Real food doesn’t need health claims. The food industry uses similar marketing tactics that the tobacco used to. Using catchy slogans to tempt people into purchasing – ‘A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play’ – yeah right! These sugary snacks, washed down with fizzy drinks and a microwave meal are in fact, in the long term, going to contribute to a number of potentially life threatening illnesses.
Safe rate of weight loss
If you are trying to lose weight, a safe weekly rate of weight loss is between 0.5kg (1lb) and 1kg (2lb). To put that into perspective; 0.5 pounds of fat contains 1750 calories. So, to lose 0.5 pounds a week, you need to burn 250 more calories than you eat each day – this is easily achievable. In contrast, for a person to lose 4lb (14000 calories) in a week, they would need to burn an extra 2000 calories per day! To do this while providing your body with the required nutrients it needs is simply unachievable, hence the health risks.
Here are some of the health risks associated with rapid weight loss.
- Feeling tired and unwell – This is often as a result of the low carbohydrate content in these types of diet. Your body performs best when carbs are available as a source of energy. You are also likely to be lacking in vitamins and minerals which can result in tiredness, fatigue, infections/colds. Medium and long term this can cause added problems such as loss of bone density and damage to the nervous system!
- Unsettling body processes – Rapid weight loss puts the body into a stressful, defensive state. The body tries to protect itself against weight loss by lowering metabolism, heart rate and temperature.
- Gall bladder problems – People who lose more than 3 pounds per week have a substantially greater chance of getting gallstones than those who lose weight more slowly.
- Loss of muscle mass – This is a result of an inadequate protein and amino acid intake.
- Weight gain – You will rapidly regain the weight once you stop the diet. Your body will naturally need to restore the muscles and liver of the glycogen content that it has been missing!
What to avoid:
- Severely cutting down calories (anything below 1200) – If you lower your calories too much you will not be able to consume enough nutrients to fuel your body or satisfy your hunger. You will also lower your metabolic rate, causing a lower rate of energy expenditure, which is likely to lead to instant weight gain as soon as the diet is stopped.
- Excessive/Extreme Exercise – It can be the concept that the best way to go about weight loss is to significantly increase exercise frequency. This can cause tiredness, increase the risk of injury, wear and tear, and could take away the feel good factor associated with exercise. In more severe cases, it can even lead to damage to the heart. Stick to exercising 5 times a week for between 30-60 minutes, combining resistance, cardio and stretching.
- Diets that revolve around a single food (Special K Diet, Cabbage Soup etc) – Diets that revolve around eating one food severely restricts a range of other foods causing nutritional deficiency. This also leads to ‘diet fatigue’ and no matter what the food – dieters will be sick of the sight of it within a week!
- Predominately eating one food group (Atkins diet) – Avoiding carbohydrates or fats being the most common. Avoiding carbohydrates is essentially taking away food that your body needs to use as energy. This results in the body using proteins as fuel = lean muscle loss. Avoiding fats is also as dangerous as our brain and nervous system need certain levels of fat to function properly! Taking away any food group will be affecting a function of the body – don’t do it!
- Pre-Packaged/ Processed/Takeout foods – Make your meals from whole foods as often as possible due to the high levels of unhealthy ingredients commonly found in highly-processed foods. These food sources are generally packed with additives and have high levels of trans and saturated fat, salt, sugar and contain very little nutritional value! Studies have linked processed meats, packaged meals, takeout food, and sugary snacks with higher rates of depression, stress, bipolar disorder and anxiety. If the ingredients list is longer your arm, it is almost certainly not good for you.
- Cleanses/Detox Plans – A lot of this weight loss comes from water weight and can be dangerous! ‘Your body is uniquely fine-tuned to detoxify and excrete toxins. So cleanses are unnecessary and can lead to serious complications by messing with your body’s systems’.
- Supplements/Diet pills – Often under researched and dangerous! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Stick to proven, natural methods of weight loss.
An in depth study found 83% of people who initially lost weight using FAD diets, went on to eventually show more weight gain than initially lost! DO NOT DIET, but change your lifestyle! Rapid weight loss is not SAFE or SUSTAINABLE! The fact is, as human beings we aren’t supposed to diet!! We are made to crave a variety of foods and our bodies will tell us when we are hungry. Listen to your own body and zone out the mass media and the photoshopped picture of the celebrity that you want to look like within two weeks, be patient and results will follow. Make small, permanent changes that you can live with until they become habit.
‘Small permanent successes will beat out massively ambitious failures 100 times out of 100’.
Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations or depriving yourself of the foods you love. It’s about eating for enjoyment, to feel good, keeping your mind and body healthy. Where possible, prepare your own meals, always read labels, grill food instead of frying, plan meals in advance, never miss a meal and take your time eating to suppress your appetite. Eat a range of fruit and veg, aiming for at least 5 portions a day and limit your intake of trans & saturated fats, simple carbohydrates (sugar), salt and alcohol. Don’t make a habit of using food as a comfort when anything goes wrong in your life! Use exercise as a stress relief, not a pack of doughnuts, and remind yourself that nothing tastes as good as looking good feels!
Stick to a range of whole (1 ingredient), healthy and REAL foods which are predominantly plant based, control portion sizes, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly – There you go, a sentence that will in the long term, help you more than any diet on the market!
For people who have developed bad habits over a number of years, this will not be easy, but what is easy in life? Embrace it and start loving food again! Eat healthy to live healthy
You only get one body, look after it.
Rob Maher BA (HONS) Sports Science and Injury, Personal Trainer Reps Level 3.
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