Weight loss: Rapid weight loss can hinder results long-term by triggering hormonal changes
Rapid weight loss 'becoming much more accepted' says Mosley
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Rapid weight loss might seem like a good idea for people wanting to slim down right away, but most health experts have warned it isn’t the way to go. They believe it can sabotage a person’s long-term weight loss goals and may hurt their health, too.
Dr Marcio Griebeler explained why slow and steady wins the weight-loss race, revealing there are a number of reasons why they’re not effective short-term.
“Avoid super restrictive diet plans because they’re difficult — if not impossible — to keep up over the long term,” she said.
“If the diet plan isn’t something you can stick to for months or years, it’s probably a fast weight loss plan.
“And those plans and gimmicks aren’t a healthy, sustainable way to lose weight.”
She explained that there is no magic number that qualifies as “rapid weight loss”, as it’s all down to a person’s weight, age and activity levels.
A more moderate goal of losing one to two pounds per week tends to be more successful over the long haul, but it can be hard to resist the lure of rapid weight loss plans.
The body’s calorie-burning process that is thrown into disarray with rapid weight loss can damage its ability to keep the weight off.
Dr Griebeler said: “When you lose weight too quickly, your body slows down its calorie-burning process.
“That is your body’s way of trying to ensure you don’t starve.
“You might lose a good amount of weight right away, but your metabolism quickly goes into survival mode.”
Decreased muscle mass
When you cut way back on calories the number on the scales will drop but so will muscle density.
“Sudden and severe calorie restriction will make you lose muscle mass as well as fat,” she explained.
“It’s harder to lose weight when you don’t have enough muscle mass because muscles burn lots of calories.”
She suggested slower weight loss combined with exercise to give the body time to lose fat while keeping muscle mass.
Missing out on important nutrients
Cutting out entire food groups can lead to other health issues, Dr Griebeler warned.
The body needs a certain amount of fat, protein and carbs to function and also needs a whole range of vitamins and minerals
“There’s nothing wrong with cutting calories if you’re eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods,” she said.
“Your diet should contain a wide variety of healthy, whole foods. Don’t try to cut more than 500 calories a day.”
More likely to quit the diet
“Cutting too many calories too quickly triggers hormonal changes that make you want to eat,” said Dr Griebeler.
“Even a very determined person will find it difficult to overpower those hunger hormones.
“These fast hormonal changes make you so hungry that they set you up for diet failure.”
She recommended working towards healthy and steady weight loss goals in order to see results.
“There’s no single diet that works for everyone but these general guidelines can help you lose weight — and keep it off — in a healthy way,” she advised.
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