Losing weight fast is normal.
However, I’m sure you’ve been told that you’d be happier losing weight at a steady and slower pace.
So, should we lose weight fast? Is it worth the trouble? This article examines this in detail.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY RAPID WEIGHT LOSS?
Most people attempt rapid weight loss by exercising frequently, and by doing the crash diet, or a diet with very low-calorie content – less than 800 calories daily.
Most people prefer losing weight through the low-calorie diet option, compared to exercising (9).
However, if you are just starting on an exercise plan or a diet plan, then you may lose a lot more than 2 pounds within your first week.
Rapid weight loss is normal at this initial period. The weight lost during this time is referred to as water weight.
When you take in lesser calories than your body uses, your body will then start to withdraw from its energy stores. The energy reserve is known as glycogen. The glycogen stored in your body is bound water, and that water is released when your body burns glycogen for fuel (10, 11).
This explains why your weight may drop rapidly during your first week. Once your body depletes its energy reserves, your weight loss should stabilize at 1 – 2 pounds weekly.
CAN AN INDIVIDUAL MAINTAIN RAPID WEIGHT LOSS?
That you’ve lost weight doesn’t mean you’ve won the battle. No, you’ve just made it to 50% of the battle. The major challenge is maintaining your new weight.
Also, plans that involve steady weight loss usually encourages healthy eating behaviors, like more consumption of vegetables and fruits, and a reduced intake of sweetened beverages. Such behaviors can keep weight off long-term (18, 19, 20, 21).
In one of these researches, 103 subjects adopted a 12-week rapid weight loss diet plan, while 97 people chose a 36-week slow but steady weight loss diet.
After three years, an average of 70 percent of participants in both groups had regained their lost weight. This implies that both diet were very effective in the end (22).
Although the results from these studies found that losing weight fast was as effective as slow – steady weight loss, it isn’t likely that a person at home would get the same results.
People who lost weight rapidly were supported by doctors and dietitians during the weight maintenance and loss phases. Studies have shown that receiving support from a health professional can boost your chances of maintaining a healthy weight for a long time (23, 24).
Also, dietitians and doctors try to bring the health risks associated with low calorie intake to the barest minimum. These include nutritional deficiencies, loss of muscle, and gallstones.
People who do the low-calorie diet plan on their own have a very high risk of these clinical conditions.
In summary, you are more likely to lose weight and maintain it by losing it slow but steady. With this approach, you can develop healthy eating habits to maintain the healthy weight. Doing this is safer than the fast weight loss thing, especially if you are not supported by a health professional.
What are the risks associated with rapid weight loss?
While rapid weight loss may seem very tempting, it is not recommended in most cases.
Rapid weight loss diets often have a small number of calories and low nutrient content. This may increase your risk of health problems especially if you stay on this diet for many weeks.
Some of the risks associated with rapid weight loss include:
How can you lose weight at a rate that is considered healthy?