Losing weight is a widespread desire. Whether you're trying to lose weight or not, losing weight helps burn calories, reduces the chance of long-term diseases and improves body image. Losing weight is often desired by women specifically. In fact, according to Gallup 57% of women often worry about their weight. Many people have a desire to lose unwanted flub (body fat). Women often take drastic measures to meet their goals, but can have potential side effects that jeopardize your health. While some women partake in extreme diets, while others use unhealthy practices such as skipping meals as a means of losing weight quickly.
Common Weight Loss Myths
While countless articles talk about how women can lose weight, the weight loss industry is also embedded with misinformation and lies. Misinformation only adds salt to the wound, leading women to believe the falsehood of 'miracle' weight loss programs and 'fast-acting' diets. The good news is - with awareness - you can now know the truth about rapid weight loss and, instead, focus on legitimate ways to lose the weight.
5 Risks of Rapid Weight Loss for Women
Weight loss can cause a variety of serious side effects, including gallstones and liver toxicity. Below are 5 risks you should be aware of to help avoid lies in the weight loss industry and have a safe and effective weight loss journey.
- Eating Disorders
It is important to remember that, while beauty standards have come a long way in recent years, modern standards - often photoshopped and fake - lead to women having a false vision of what is real, and physically possible.
Unfortunately, unhealthy standards of beauty cause women to go to any lengths to lose weight, which can result in eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa often affects young women, while both men and women can be affected by eating disorders.
Anorexia involves severely restricting calories to lose weight. This not only establishes unhealthy eating patterns as you under-fuel your body for daily life at rest; but, over time it can result in becoming underweight since you develop a fear of gaining additional weight.
Bulimia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by extreme overeating, only to feel guilty and either force vomiting, fasting, or purging. Avoid falling into these weight-loss traps - eating disorders can lead to permanent damage to your body from the inside out.
- Muscle Loss
While losing fat is the goal of weight loss, you might find yourself losing muscle instead. The cause? Well, there are many causes for this. While calories are often restricted during weight loss, as in dieting and extreme dieting, the Journal of Advanced Nutrition says that the greatest cause for muscle loss is the decrease in a person's calorie intake, which can clearly lead to skeletal and muscular atrophy, or the wasting away of muscle tissue. The current recommendations for weight loss based on research from The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggest that a person lose 0.5-1.0% per week.
When calories are restricted, you run the risk of losing both lean muscle and fat. You don't want to lose lean muscle tissue, in fact, without enough muscle, you may find your body can't burn off more fat, since muscle increases our metabolism and helps us burn fat, even at rest. The solution? Moderate calorie reduction may result in more time to lose weight, but that time will be more enjoyable, and maintainable long-term. Also, consider adding strength training into your routine to continue strengthening your muscles and building lean muscle mass.
- Excessive Dehydration
Rapid weight loss can be unsafe and unhealthy because you don't drink enough water. Water is crucial to the human body. It clears out the toxins from the body, helps you stay focused, and helps your body stay hydrated.
Without water, especially on a weight loss journey, you'll put yourself at risk of dehydration. Look for signs like these:
- Constant headaches
- Dark yellow urine
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Lack of energy
- Muscle Cramps, etc.
If you start seeing these symptoms, even in the first two weeks of your weight loss regimen, then it's time to drink up!
- Poor Nutrition
Nutrition is another essential thing for the human body. While pills and supplements might help, you still need to consider natural options for gaining essential nutrients and vitamins like healthy foods. Eating is important for fueling your body; without it, you're cutting off the nutritional flow that your muscles, organs, brain, and body thrive on. So, before cutting calories, think about the foods that you should eat - healthy whole foods that provide plenty of nutrition like fruits and veggies, grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Add these foods into your diet to give your body the nutrients it needs as you go on your weight loss journey.
- Slower Metabolism
Finally, metabolism is vital to the body. Cutting calories can slow down your metabolism. How? Metabolism is the process by which your body breaks the calories from food into fuel for your body. By cutting calories, your body naturally has fewer calories available to burn.
Studies have shown that when you decrease the number of calories you consume, your body's metabolism slows to counterbalance this shift. Essentially, your body responds to fewer calories consumed by decreasing your resting metabolic rate - or the number of calories your body needs to keep critical systems functioning like your heart, lungs, and other organs. This shift is referred to as ‘metabolic adaptation’.
What can we do to counteract metabolic adaptation? Keep your metabolism up!
Participating in regular exercise helps you lose weight by increasing your metabolism. You can also increase metabolism by focusing on eating nutrient-dense foods to keep your metabolism up.