"Drop six sizes in 90 days!" "Lose 7 pounds in 7 days!' "How to lose weight in 3 days!" Sound familiar?
Although we may be drawn to the allure of rapid weight loss advertising in January, its important to know how not to fall into the trap of crash diets that can do damage to your body in the long term.
Slow and steady weight loss programmes may not sound as promising but it really is the best way to help your body. Its also been shown it helps weight loss to continue whilst allowing you to develop a healthy and intuitive relationship with food. This something to bear in mind if you are trying to conceive and need to lose weight for conception processes like IVF. Although losing weight is necessary to undergo the treatment, you also want your body to be functioning well and be at its best for your future pregnancy.
Some other ways rapid weight loss can do more harm than good
1) YOU COULD BE MISSING OUT ON VITAL NUTRIENTS
A lot of the "quick" weight loss diets and eating plans cut out whole food groups which can mean that you miss out on key nutrients, vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function.
If in doubt, choose a healthy eating plan that includes all of the key macronutrients- fats, protein and carbohydrates.
2) YOU MIGHT BE LOSING MUSCLE INSTEAD OF FAT
When we lose weight, we want to get rid of body fat, not muscle mass. If you cut calories too quickly and drastically, muscle tone will suffer. Calorie restricted diets may cause your body to break down muscle for energy and fuel. Muscle is also more metabolically active than fat, more muscle means you'll burn more calories a day. It seems hard work to keep slogging away at the gym but more strength training(lifting weights) and less cardio will help preserve lean mass and build muscle to ramp up your metabolism.
3) NOT GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN
As you participate in regular strength training, eating a high protein diet will help with satiety and keep you fuller for longer whilst building lean mass which will eventually replace body fat. Without enough protein you won't be able to repair your muscles or have the strength to push yourself during the last bit of your HIIT or spin class. Feeling hungry and low on energy by restricting the amount of food you eat makes the exercise part twice as hard and demotivating, making it less likely you will want to continue.
4) NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER
Its not uncommon to see slightly faster weight loss in the first two weeks of a drastic diet, especially if its low carb or no carb, thanks to water weight. Its one of the reasons why the ketogenic diet is often praised for quick weight loss. Rapid water loss can lead to dehydration which can have nasty side effects such as headaches, muscle cramps and fatigue. Keep track of how much water you are drinking every day. 3 litres is a good amount to work up to.
5) YOU FEEL HUNGRY ALL THE TIME
Low calorie diets allow the hormone leptin( controls hunger) to get crazy and trick your brain into thinking its hungry all the time so its way more tempting to binge. Normal leptin levels tell your brain that your full so in order to maintain a healthy eating regime for the long term, its ideal to keep leptin levels in check by eating regularly.
Restriction has negative effects on the mind and body and changing your diet should never really be about just weight loss. Want to nourish and love your body, see the way eating good food and exercise makes you feel. Be kinder to yourself and choose a more progressive journey and ENJOY the process. Other factors such as better sleep, reduced stress and mental wellbeing all help. The exercise part doesn't have to mean finding the time to slave away in the gym, go on a long walk, hike or bike ride. Have that piece of chocolate or that glass of red, its your LIFE! Find that lifestyle change that works for you, maintain the balance of exercise and opt for BETTER food choices not LESS.
POINTS TO REMEMBER
-CUT BACK ON SUGAR AND PROCESSED FOOD
-FOCUS ON HEALTHY FATS
-PLENTY OF REST
-FOCUS ON STRENGTH TRAINING AND HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING