Can I Lose Weight Too Fast?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found about 73% of adults older than the age of 20 and 22% of teens are overweight and living with obesity. For most of us, losing weight is difficult and can take time. But it is not impossible, especially when equipped with the right tools for success.
The phrase “slow and steady wins the race” directly applies to successful weight loss. The good news is those who lose weight slowly by making lifestyle changes rather than following fad diets tend to be successful in keeping the weight off.
People tend to think that weight loss will happen quickly by cutting calories excessively, and the weight will not return. This approach is not realistic or successful for many reasons and losing weight quickly can negatively affect our bodies and well-being.
Losing weight quickly can lead to:
- Nutritional deficiency or malnutrition - An extremely low-calorie diet can result in less calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B-12, folate or iron in our bodies. Not having the proper nutrition or vitamins, you are more likely to experience fatigue, hair loss, brittle nails and hair, weakened bones, anemia, constipation, and a compromised immune system.
- A slow metabolism - Our bodies enter starvation mode when we do not eat enough calories causing metabolism to slow as the body tries to conserve energy. Muscle tone suffers when you cut calories too quickly. Our bodies are looking for energy and break down muscle instead of fat.
- Gallstones – The gallbladder helps to break down fatty food. When you lose weight too quickly, gallstones form inside the gallbladder and cause serve pain.
- Continuous hunger – Leptin, the hormone that controls hunger and signals the brain that the body is full, becomes unbalanced with extremely low-calorie diets. Unbalanced leptin can make you feel hungry or even hangry and can lead to binge eating.
- Mental health concerns – By trying to lose weight quickly, you may experience mental health side effects such as body dysmorphia, anorexia or bulimia.
How to lose weight successfully and keep it off
To lose weight successfully in a healthy way that’s good for your mental well-being and your body, aim to lose 1-2 pounds per week by developing healthy eating habits and moving your body daily by exercising. If there is a secret to success, that is it. It is essential to set small, realistic goals to maintain weight loss.
To lose weight, you should consume fewer calories than you burn every day. But the key is to avoid calorie deprivation. A simple way to start is to cut your calorie intake by 500 calories, no more than that. Physical activity, including walking, resistance training, high-intensity workouts, and running, can help burn calories.
Making small lifestyle changes can lead to significant changes and bigger results. It is important to understand how much you eat each day and your eating habits. A small change you can make is to try using a food diary or a digital app on your phone to track your daily meals. A good picture of your eating habits can help you see what you can change to form better habits. For example, eating whole, unprocessed foods is important to nourish your body and help with weight loss. When logging meals, you can track what type of food you tend to gravitate toward.
When eating a meal, it is also important to be mindful of your portion size. One of the keys to successful weight loss is eating smaller portions. Restaurants tend to overserve. Try splitting a meal instead of ordering your own entrée. This way, you won’t be tempted to eat the entire portion on your plate. At home, try sticking to the suggested serving size listed on the package when making a meal. The nutritional facts of a product are congruent to the serving size listed at the top of the nutritional label. Save the leftovers for another meal. Avoid eating from a bag or box. Always portion a snack out to the suggested serving size.
Believe it or not, sleep is important for weight loss. Make sure to get a good night’s rest of seven or more hours a night of adults. Increased cravings for high-calorie food such as cookies, cake, sugary beverages and chips can result from sleep deprivation, leading to Type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and even certain cancers.
Overall, the best method for weight loss is to be mindful when taking care of your body by making small lifestyle changes. Eat slowly, cut back on sugar and starches, eat more protein to boost your metabolism, make rest and sleep a priority and develop an exercise routine that fits your lifestyle.
Getting started is one of the hardest parts of the weight loss journey. It is easy to be overwhelmed, especially with the different diets and information available. If you aren’t sure where to begin, contact your primary care doctor to discuss a nutritional plan that works best for you.
Schedule an appointment and learn more about Dr. Asahel Gridley.