Why Fast Weight Loss is Bad for You
Last week I posted a blog about Rachel Frederickson, the Biggest Loser contestant who shocked her trainers and the audience when she revealed her new body. They hadn’t seen her in about three months and when she stepped on stage they all could see that she took the weight loss thing too far. She looked starved – perhaps anorexic. (BTW, I did a Google image search for “anorexic“, and I’m not going to show you what I found. It is far too disturbing. But if you’re curious, take a look.)
She went from 250 lbs to 105 lbs in about six months. That is roughly 6 pounds a week. Way too much in a short period of time.
She had plenty of incentive to get fit and lose her excess body fat when she was on the show. She knew that she was going to come out again for the season finale. She had momentum and kept going with her 6 hour a day, 1800 calorie program. However, she didn’t know when to stop. She said she never had a weight goal in mind. Maybe she should have – or better yet, a body fat percentage as a stopping point. We need body fat. There is an ideal amount for everybody. I call this the Goldilocks region. There is a “just right” for everything: food, water, sleep, fun, sex…
Many of my clients see this sort of weight loss on the Biggest Loser and want it themselves. It might be for a wedding or reunion or just for summer vacation, but most people don’t want slow weight loss.
In this episode of the Live Fit Podcast I’m going to explain today why slow fat loss is best and why fast weight loss will result in failure. I have NEVER seen or heard otherwise, in 14 years in the industry. There is one person I know who lost 80 lbs in about 10 months. Technically that is not considered “fast” as it falls within the 2 lbs/week, but there is a range and maybe 1 lb/wk would have been better for him. Or, he did not have sustainable eating habits when he went off this diet.
And that is one of the biggest problems with rapid wt loss is the sustainable behavior.
He said he has gained back 50 lbs within a year after and is now working hard at bringing it back down with sensible behavior. He used Medifast the first time and lost the first 30 very quickly. he is now taking a more sensible approach with eating and exercising. Boring, I know, but fun and excitements are best found in amusement parks, not on your plate.
Some common reasons for not being able to maintain fast weight loss and why it can be dangerous.
- Recommended fat loss: 1 to 2 lbs per week.
- More likely to maintain for long term.
- 1 lb of fat = 3,500 cals – deficit of 500 cals/day = 1 pound/wk.
- Weight loss does not = fat loss.
- You probably want to lose fat, right? And not muscle?
- Rapid weight loss is usually made up of water, stored carbohydrates and muscle tissue – and some fat. But how much? You’d have to use a sensitive body composition device to know: BodPod, hydrostatic weighing, bioelectrical impedance, etc.
- Rapid weight loss is a shock to the body.
- The body likes things to be in balance (Goldilocks). When they are not, it is not happy. It will do what it can to recover balance as soon as it can.
- Harmful methods
- Many of the extreme techniques used are harmful and damaging to the body – some permanently. People have died trying to lose weight too quick.
- Eating too little will also likely result in deficiencies of minerals, vitamins and other essential nutrients. This can cause heart problems, immunity errors and muscle and bone loss.
- The leptin response to fasting or very low calories.
- Leptin makes a person feel hungry.
- Leptin controls appetite, modulates metabolism and promotes fat burning. When a person is starving, leptin is reduced and so is metabolism and hunger.
- This causes what is known as “the starvation response”.
- Starvation response
- If calories are cut below a person’s RMR that person will go into “starvation mode”. This is a preservation technique that the body uses to withstand times of famine.
- We are all decedents of people who were able to live through hard times.
- Unfortunately we live in a time when food is very prevalent and not very many of us have to withstand a famine.
- We are efficient at storing and using energy.
- Muscle is cannibalized to save the fat energy for last.
- We don’t need skeletal muscle to live so it is burned first.
- Rebound effect
- Will gain back the weight lost and some extra to make to prepare for the next time that person is starved.
- Unsustainable behavior
- Starvation, deprivation, special mixtures and concoctions are not a natural way to feed the body. It can be done for a short time, but eventually you will crack.
- Eat today the way you want to eat next week, next year and next decade.
- It took years to gain.
- Give it some time to come off.
- Let the body acclimate
- will likely be slow to come off.
- Keep this in mind: slow off – stay off.
Now, you can explain to someone else Why Fast Weight Loss is Bad For You ?
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