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Oct 5

Is It Bad to Lose Weight Too Quickly? – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

When youre ready to slim down, you want to make it happen now. But most health experts say rapid weight loss isnt the way to go. It can sabotage your long-term weight loss goals and may hurt your health, too.

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Why is it bad to lose weight quickly? Endocrinologist and obesity specialist Marcio Griebeler, MD, explains why slow and steady wins the weight-loss race and how to do it.

Theres no magic number that qualifies as rapid weight loss. Your weight, age and activity level determine what that term means for you.

Dont worry too much about the number of pounds you should (or shouldnt) lose. Instead, look at the diet plan youre following to lose weight. Extreme diets with lofty promises usually fall under the rapid weight loss category.

Avoid super restrictive diet plans because theyre difficult if not impossible to keep up over the long term, says Dr. Griebeler. If the diet plan isnt something you can stick to for months or years, its probably a fast weight loss plan. And those plans and gimmicks arent a healthy, sustainable way to lose weight.

A more moderate goal of losing 1 to 2 pounds per week tends to be more successful over the long haul.

Its hard to resist the lure of rapid weight loss. Be 10 pounds lighter by next week? Yes, please. But dont give in to the flashy ads. Most of the time, those diet plans are bad news for your health.

Your metabolism is your bodys calorie-burning process. And a metabolism thats out of whack can damage your bodys ability to keep the weight off.

When you lose weight too quickly, your body slows down its calorie-burning process, explains Dr. Griebeler. That is your bodys way of trying to ensure you dont starve. You might lose a good amount of weight right away, but your metabolism quickly goes into survival mode.

The change in your metabolism is a key reason why people regain weight after trying rapid weight loss plans. When you go back to eating a regular diet, your metabolism isnt used to that many calories and the pounds come back.

When you cut way back on calories, you might see that number on the scale drop like a rock. But its not just fat youre losing. Youre also losing muscle.

Sudden and severe calorie restriction will make you lose muscle mass as well as fat, says Dr. Griebeler. Its harder to lose weight when you dont have enough muscle mass because muscles burn lots of calories.

Slower weight loss combined with exercise, on the other hand, gives your body time to lose fat while keeping your muscle mass. And bonus: You keep your muscles calorie-burning power intact.

Your body needs a certain amount of fat, protein and carbs to function. It also needs a whole range of vitamins and minerals. When you slash calories or cut out entire food groups like carbs or dairy, you risk:

Theres nothing wrong with cutting calories if youre eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods, says Dr. Griebeler. Your diet should contain a wide variety of healthy, whole foods. Dont try to cut more than 500 calories a day.

When you go for fast weight loss, you may find that it gets harder not easier to keep losing weight. A couple of weeks in, youll likely feel famished all the time. The temptation to crawl into bed with a box of cookies is real.

Dont blame a lack of willpower. Its your hormones, and theyre doing exactly what they were designed to do.

Cutting too many calories too quickly triggers hormonal changes that make you want to eat, says 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.

Theres no single diet that works for everyone. But these general guidelines can help you lose weight and keep it off in a healthy way.

Healthy weight loss isnt just about what you eat. You need physical activity if you want maximum results.

Cardiovascular exercise like walking burns calories, but strength training is just as important. When you lift weights or do resistance training, you increase muscle mass. And when you have more muscle mass, you:

Ever notice that when youre exhausted you want to eat more? When youre tired, your hunger hormones barge in and ruin your chances of bypassing that donut. If youre regularly missing out on sleep, even the best weight loss plan is going to feel impossible.

Aim for at least seven hours of quality sleep each night, says Dr. Griebeler. If you consistently have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor. Many people who have sleep disorders dont know it and sleep disorders are treatable.

Think about your diet plan and whether you could do it for the rest of your life. Cutting a couple of hundred calories a day? Doable. Never having a bowl of ice cream again? Probably not.

The best diet is one you will stick to, says Dr. Griebeler. Changing our habits is hard, but it can be done. Choose a diet plan that allows you to have an occasional piece of chocolate or slice of pizza. Its much easier to keep doing these types of plans for months and even years.

Fast results are fun for a while, instant gratification isnt best when it comes to weight loss. Go slow with dropping pounds so you can be healthier today and stay that way for years to come.

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Is It Bad to Lose Weight Too Quickly? - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

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