The modern world is a difficult place to be if you are overweight or obese because society is geared towards everybody having the perfect figure. The rise of social media has not helped this as there are millions of images bombarding us each day of ‘perfect’ looking celebrities telling us that their lifestyle and body shape is the only way to be. Of course, the majority of us are not taken in by this hokum and are perfectly happy in our own skin, but some people, maybe those lacking in confidence try and behave and act like celebrities much to their own detriment.
On the flip side, many of us aspire to be healthier, and in order to do that we need to improve our diets and lose weight, so there is a contrast between those that want to lose weight for health reasons and those who want to lose weight to fit in with the mainstream opinion of what we should all be like. Whichever side you are on, it is important to understand that it is not always healthy to lose a tremendous amount of weight, so here we are going to take a look at the dangers and how you can combat them.
1. Your Metabolism Will Drop
When people try to lose weight, the way they often go about it is to skip meals because they hold the belief that the fewer calories they take in the less weight they will put on. The problem with this approach is that the body will go into starvation mode because all of a sudden it is not getting the calories it previously had and the upshot is that the metabolism slows right down. Why is this a problem, you may ask? If your metabolism is slower, then your body will automatically try to conserve energy, and it will do this by holding on to its fat stores. So, although your goal is to lose weight, you will not actually shift any fat because your body is starving and trying to save itself.
2. A Lack of Nutrients
Losing weight quickly can be highly problematic because all of a sudden the body is not getting enough vital nutrients in order to function properly. Obviously, if you follow a well-planned diet that is full of nutritious fruits and vegetables, then it is not going to be a problem, but sadly in the modern world, people don’t often have the time or the willpower to eat correctly. Nutrition experts from fcer.org recommend that you augment your diet with a range of vitamins and supplements so that you are not losing vital nutrients in your quest to lose weight. There is such a huge range on the market that you can target certain deficiencies such as a lack of protein or iron directly, without harming your chances of losing weight in the long run.
3. You May Be Losing Muscle
One drawback of losing too much weight in the wrong way is that you may actually be losing muscle mass rather than fat, and in the long run, this is much more unhealthy than not doing anything at all. If you cut the calories in your diet then your body will need to use muscle stores for the energy and fuel it needs to survive. On top of this muscle mass burns far more calories than fat does, so if you have no muscles to burn your calorie intake then you will just get fatter and fatter. It is a vicious circle. So, if you want to avoid losing muscle when trying to lose weight, do not cut the calories you consume so dramatically, and combine your diet with exercise so that you maintain muscle weight and actually burn fat.
Our bodies naturally hold large stores of water and it is for this reason that when we go on a diet we can often see quite dramatic results in the first few weeks. However, this is not real weight loss, what you are actually doing is losing the water stores in your body and becoming dehydrated. Nobody likes to become dehydrated as there are many side effects such as constipation, headaches, and the feeling of having no energy to carry out normal everyday tasks. It is therefore important that when you embark on a diet, you continue to drink several liters of water a day to keep yourself hydrated and to keep those side effects at bay.
5. Mental Health
Going on a diet and losing vast amounts of weight very quickly can have a severely detrimental effect on our mental health. Seeing a huge change to our body shapes can be upsetting and dysmorphia or anorexia can quickly manifest themselves as our body thinks that we need to lose even more weight. We also often associate losing weight with light at the end of the tunnel in the form of love or happiness and when those desires don’t come to fruition, we can become rather depressed and insular, and then we will eat food to feel comfortable and end up putting more weight on. Make sure your intention to lose weight is for the right reasons and don’t put undue pressure on yourself. We are all different and sometimes our body shapes are meant to be, so if your body is crying out for you to stop, then listen to it!
As we have discovered, although many of us set out to lose weight for the right reasons, if we go about doing it in the wrong way, then it can have a seriously harmful effect on our bodies. Don’t cut the calories too quickly or your metabolism will drop and you will struggle to burn fat. Supplement your diet with vitamins otherwise, you run the risk of picking up further problems such as fatigue, hair loss, or a compromised immune system, and make sure that you drink enough water so that you don’t become dehydrated. Finally, think about your mental health and why you want to lose weight because you need to be doing it for yourself, not because social media says that you have to.