Many people think that losing weight is the key to a better and happier life, but they may end up hurting themselves if they try to do it too fast.
Our bodies are not simple machines that can be easily changed by following a diet or a plan. They are made of many parts that work together in complicated ways to keep us healthy and balanced.
If we ignore this fact and chase after unrealistic goals, we may face many problems and dangers in how our bodies react when we try to lose weight too quickly.
It is therefore important to be aware of these risks and to respect our bodies’ needs before we fall for the temptation of quick fixes.
Here is a continuation of some examples of the many downsides of weight loss.
Your gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac beneath your liver that stores bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver. Normally, bile is released from the gallbladder into your small intestine, where it aids in digestion by breaking up fats into fatty acids. However, rapid weight loss increases the risk of developing gallstones, lumps of hardened bile that can form within your gallbladder.
Healthline explains that gallstones form when you lose weight too quickly because if you’re not consuming enough food, the gallbladder doesn’t need to release the digestive juices normally required to break down fat. When the digestive juices sit, substances that normally flow out of the gallbladder may join together, forming a gallstone, which can get stuck and cause an attack.
Signs and symptoms may not always appear if you have a gallstone, per the Mayo Clinic. However, if one gets lodged and causes a blockage, you may experience sudden and intense pain in the center or upper right area of your abdomen, or pain in your right shoulder or upper back between your shoulder blades. Pain due to gallstones can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Other symptoms include nausea or vomiting. Gallstones are not only painful; they can also lead to other serious complications. See a doctor immediately if you experience severe abdominal pain, yellowing of your skin or in the whites of your eyes (jaundice), or a high fever with chills.
If you lose weight too quickly, you put yourself at risk of insufficient calorie intake, which can lead to fatigue and reduced energy levels.
You may normally associate being overweight with fatigue, since dragging around those extra pounds can, well, weigh on you. However, the opposite can also be true. For example, losing weight quickly via a restrictive diet can cause stress or anxiety, which can lead to extreme fatigue, according to the staff at LIMARP, an internationally accredited bariatric center. Because losing weight quickly often involves limiting your food intake, you’re also limiting your energy intake. Consequently, you may discover that you’re persistently tired, especially if you’re simultaneously increasing your daily physical activity. If fatigue persists, you are at risk of malnutrition due to a potential lack of common nutrients such as magnesium and vitamins B12, C, and D. Additionally, you may be putting yourself at risk of low iron, which can lead to anemia.
“Carbohydrate” is a dirty word to many trying to lose weight quickly, yet you need to include high-quality carbohydrates, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans, as part of a healthy diet to have enough glucose for the body to use for energy. Cutting out good carbs can cause dehydration, which often leads to fatigue. Sure, avoid bad carbs such as desserts, white bread, sugary sodas and juices, and highly processed foods, but Elizabeth DeRobertis, a registered dietitian and director of the Nutrition Center at Scarsdale Medical Group, White Plains Hospital, tells CNN not to deprive yourself of those high-quality, fiber-rich carbs.
Rapid weight loss can disrupt hormonal balance, affecting menstruation and potentially causing reproductive issues. Following a weight-loss regimen that requires you to cut out important components of a balanced diet, such as certain types of cholesterol, good carbohydrates, and healthy fats, does a number on your endocrine system (per The Marion Gluck Clinic).
The endocrine system is an intricate network made up of cells, glands, and organs. From conception to old age, this complex system produces hormones (also known as chemical messengers) that coordinate and regulate a host of essential biological processes, including metabolism, blood sugar control, energy level, body growth and development, injury response, stress, mood, and the reproductive system. Consequently, women who lose weight too quickly could potentially experience amenorrhea. A woman has this condition when she misses three or more months of her menstrual cycle. Additionally, if your body fat gets too low, you are at greater risk of infertility.
As endocrinologist Dr. Vinni Makin tells Cleveland Clinic, the reason a woman’s period stops due to extreme weight loss is because when you lose weight too quickly, you put your body under stress. The stress leads to a fight-or-flight response, causing your body to conserve energy by reducing hormone production for functions that the body doesn’t immediately require, so there is enough energy to support vital processes such as breathing and digesting.
To keep your hormones at healthy levels, The Marion Gluck Clinic advises you to keep your meal plates composed of 40% vegetables, 30% grains, 20% lean proteins, and 10% healthy fats.