Yes, losing weight can be healthy. But if it is not done right, weight loss can backfire. There are serious side effects of rapid weight loss that often put your health and sanity in a risky state. It can get so bad it becomes worse than it originally was!

That’s why it is so important to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

Come to think of it! Your body has attained a certain level of balance with your current composition. And if you are trying to change it all in a matter of 3-4 weeks by following unnatural ways, which do not remove the root cause of your weight gain, then how will your body and mind accept this new physical state that you are trying to achieve.

It can’t handle it! That’s why most of such rapid weight loss practices fail.

Either you simply lose hope or end up suffering so much health damage that you require medication for other health conditions that develop along the way.

On the other hand, when you lose weight following healthy practices such as improving your diet and lifestyle and by addressing the root cause of your weight gain, it gives you so much strength and confidence!

Healthy weight loss adds years to your life and removes years (aging signs) from your body and mind.

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In this post you will get to know the dangerous side effects of rapid weight loss that are not even mentioned in the enticing adverts. And you will also learn how to navigate through all the noise to experience a journey of health transformation with Ayurveda. Let’s get started!

Here are some of the Really Harmful rapid weight loss methods that you need to avoid!

It could be due to peer pressure or an upcoming sporting event. Maybe you need to drop a few kilos so that you can fit into the gown for the annual dinner at the office. Sometimes, it’s just for the purpose of ‘looking more attractive.’

Whatever the motivation, some times you may be tempted to go to any length for rapid weight loss.

You may get ready to try anything or any method that will help with fast weight loss. You may go ahead even if there are warning signs.

Well, worry not! You are not alone in this.

Unsurprisingly, more than 60% of people go for dieting or rapid weight loss measures at some point to shed the pounds. And out of this nearly 80% fail or struggle to keep off what was shed in the initial place.

Here are some of the extremely harmful fast weight loss methods that you need to know and avoid at any time.

1. Starvation, fasting, and low-calorie diet

The general belief is that the less you eat, the less likely you are to get fat. And maybe that is true. A person can starve themselves, engage in high-frequency fasting, or cut out lots of calories from their diet.

In this situation, the body is forced to draw from the reserves of energy that have been stored in the body. One of these is the fat reserves. So, weight loss results in the short term.

Now the expectation is that this weight loss continues, but what actually happens is quite the opposite of this in the long term.

Your body senses the consistently low calories and thinks there is starvation going on. Thus, it begins to hoard the fat for the long term. You store more fat instead.

2. Extreme Detoxification Methods | Juice and Tea Detoxes

These can help you lose weight. However, there are associated dangers of losing weight too quickly with this method also.

With this practice, the weight you lose is mostly from lost fluid and the weight of feces. You lose more fluids and excrete more, and that reduces your weight. It is not burning fat.

In fact, it creates so much dryness and dehydration in the body that your skin and hair start showing clear signals of (wrinkles and brittleness).

Do you see the problem here? Losing so much fluid that it is evident in your weight is dangerous. The dehydration that results will be more than you bargained for. It can have far-reaching effects on all systems of the body.

3. Purging

It is an especially popular among teenagers and college students.

Purging can be done by inducing vomit or chewing food and then spitting it out. Some go so far as to abuse laxatives. They eat, but they do not want the food to stay in and get absorbed by the body.

There are many risks associated with this extreme weight loss method too, as we will soon begin to see. But just to satisfy your curiosity.

When you vomit, you bring up the acidic contents in your stomach through your esophagus into your mouth. Thus, if you constantly regurgitate food from your stomach, you are causing a problem. Or many problems. The stomach is adapted to that acid, so it is not hurt.

However, the other structures leading out through your mouth are not adapted. The acid can damage the throat, teeth, etc.

4. Rapid Weight loss pills and supplements

Most of these weight loss pills come with a heed about onset of migraines, anxiety, nervousness and digestion problems. However, this part is in the smallest letters or hidden somewhere that you don’t notice much. Here’s a research on it.

The danger with supplements is that they are not regulated. Yes, they are sold as pills, maybe even packaged as medications.

But! They are not subjected to the same scrutiny as actual medications. So, the end-users of these supplements are left at the mercy of whatever the manufacturer deems fit to be in the supplement.

5. Extreme exercising

Too much of everything is bad. Extreme exercising is bad. If you chose to lose weight rapidly by pushing your body more than you should, it will backfire too.

Exercising burns calories helps shed fat; true! But only if done correctly and within limits.

If it is overdone, it can cause dehydration, wear and tear of bones and muscles, etc. You begin to punish yourself for eating by exercising even harder.

More is not always better. Aside from that, such high intensity of exercise is usually not sustainable in the long run.

6. The cigarette diet

The nicotine in the cigarette has appetite-suppressing attributes. Some people take advantage of this and smoke so that they do not feel hungry.

But you will readily agree that the dangers associated with smoking far outweigh any weight loss you may benefit from it.

First, your appetite is suppressed so you don’t feel hungry. This doesn’t mean your body has the nutrients it needs. You just don’t feel it.

But aside from that, everyone knows the risks associated with smoking. These include cardiovascular problems, cancer, etc.

7. The cabbage soup diet

In this diet method, you are expected to eat cabbage soup and severely restricted meals for a week. The result? You lose 5 kg after that week.

However, it leaves you undernourished, and it is certainly not sustainable.

8. Sleeping beauty

This is based on the belief that the more you sleep, the less you need to eat. So, a person takes sedatives and sleeps for long hours during the day. Thus, they don’t have to eat.

Abusing sedatives is harmful. Your metabolism gets slowed down. You are malnourished. And you waste so much productive time sleeping.

It’s definitely not even practicable for a lot of persons, e.g. people who have to work or attend classes.

Dangerous Side Effects of Rapid Weight Loss

Now that you have seen the depleting and harmful rapid weight loss practices, we sincerely hope that you will stay away from all of these measures.

In fact, there is so much to lose that you have to ask yourself, “Is it really worth it?”

This is your body, and it is the only one you’ve got. If you ruin it with some harmful practices in the name of rapid weight loss, would you gladly deal with the repercussions?

Now, let’s look into the health risks of extreme weight loss practices in detail. Here, you will get to know why it is so important to focus on your health and weight loss journey and not just weight loss as such.

1. Extreme Mental Health Issues

People don’t just go into extreme weight loss for no reason. There is usually an objective in mind. If these objectives are not acquired despite their efforts, it affects their mental health.

  • Dysmorphia: an individual begins to think there is something wrong with their own body.
  • Anxiety: constantly checking your “progress” and ensuring you ‘do everything right’ can lead to anxiety. You get anxious even if you ‘accidentally’ accept a proffered sweet or take a bite of your best friend’s wedding cake.
  • Eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, etc, are also dangers of losing weight too rapidly.
  • Negative mood profile: A study was done to assess people who were practicing extreme weight loss. They were found to have higher scores for anger, depression, fatigue, tension, etc.

2. Muscle Wasting

When you don’t eat, the body has to look for alternative sources of energy. The general belief is that your body turns to fat reserves, so you burn fat. Voila! Weight is lost.

Of course, weight is lost, but there is something else you need to understand. Before you burn fat, your body looks at other reserves of energy, which comes from lean muscular mass in the form of glucagon stored in there. So, if you go for extreme weight loss, then you start losing these muscles and experience fatigue and weakness in the long run.

On the other hand, your fat metabolism, the real culprit was never touched upon. It stays in the same low state. Thus, once you stop the weight loss measures, you gain lots of fat and flabbiness.

3. Gallstones

The gallbladder is an accessory organ of digestion. One of its functions is to release bile to digest food that you take in.

When you starve yourself to lose weight, there is nothing to digest. With no cue, the gallbladder releases no bile. Consequently, bile remains stagnant in the gallbladder with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

Of course, stagnant water is never good. It soon begins to stink and house disease-carrying organisms.

Also, if you have been trying to lose excess fat reserves, then most of this poor fat doesn’t get an opportunity to go away properly from your body. It circulates back through the bile and deposits in the form of gallbladder sludge or gall stones.

In this case, the bile obstructs the pancreas, and inflammation begins in the pancreas. This causes severe pain due to formation of gallstones.

4. Gout attacks

People who practice low carb diets are in danger of developing gout and high uric acid problems.

They remove carbohydrates and attempt to replace them with proteins. When you take too many proteins, there is a danger of having too many acidic crystals which get deposited in the joints.

The consequence is painful gout attacks.

5. Saggy skin

The skin is moderately elastic, but not very much. We all agree the skin stretches over the whole body and everything under it. Including fat tissues.

You can picture a rubber band that is used to hold fifteen pencils together. The band is stretched. Now, take about five of those pencils out at once. Would you expect the band to still fit tightly around the remaining ten? Not likely. It will only fit loosely around the rest.

The same thing happens with the skin. Only that, with moderate weight loss, the skin can adapt. However, when lots of tissues are burned so fast, the skin can’t adapt as fast. Thus, it sags.

6. Food cravings

The body has its own mechanisms in place to check every parameter and ensure that it stays balanced. If there isn’t enough food in the system, it responds accordingly.

Hormones leptin and ghrelin are concerned with hunger and satiety. The body calls on them as necessary.

So, even if you do not want to eat, the body knows you need to eat. You begin to feel hungry.

Do you find you are always hungry? Constantly thinking about food? Then you need to stop that harmful weight loss practice. You do not need to punish yourself to lose weight.

You know, it could be counter-effective in the end. Why? Soon you can’t control the craving anymore. Then you fall prey to binge eating.

7. Low blood sugar and constant fatigue

No matter what, glucose remains the preferred source of energy for your body. It is quick and easy, a universal energy currency. When you have low blood sugar, you will feel tired and struggle with some other symptoms as lack of focus, nervousness and dizziness.

Other energy sources can be pulled on, converted into glucose, or directly into energy. But when even these are depleted, it is really a problem. The fatigue will be immense.

8. Sleep Problems

How does starvation relate to sleep disorders and insomnia? One link is that hunger and satiety hormones can still be linked with sleep.

Another link is that sleep problems and metabolic disorders are all related. They go hand-in-hand.

9. Dehydration

Rapid water loss can lead to dehydration. This is especially a risk when you are practicing detoxification and cleansing habits. Low or no-carb diets are also a risk.

Dehydration comes with a host of unpleasant side effects like constipation, headache, muscle cramps, low energy, organ damage, etc.

10. Impaired immunity

When you fail to eat sufficiently, you will be lacking in lots of important nutrients. For example, vitamin and mineral deficiencies are likely. This can leave you with impaired immunity.

Your immune system should help you fight diseases. But when you have crippled it, you are left prone to infections.

11. Other Side Effects of Rapid Weight Loss

  • Metabolic disorders: Several studies have found that losing weight fast by eating fewer calories may cause you to burn up to 23% fewer calories per day. This is because hormones that regulate your metabolism drop. This can persist even after you stop the weight loss practice.
  • Type II diabetes due to metabolic disorders
  • Headaches
  • Relationships are badly affected
  • Unproductivity
  • Hair loss
  • Menstrual irregularities, etc.

What you should do instead | Ayurvedic guide to a healthy weight loss

A weight-loss routine should be sustainable and aim to bring your health back on track. It should help you to not just get rid of your current health problems due to excess weight but also keep your weight in a healthy range in the long term.

That’s why all of the real and successful weight loss journeys begin with a lifestyle change and not with some weight loss tricks!

Now that you have decided to avoid the dangers of losing weight too quickly, what other options are open to you?

There are lots of healthy practices. Here are highly effective Ayurvedic weight loss tips that will also support your health in the long term.

You can also go through these posts on how to lose body fat and lose weight naturally and Ayurvedic tips to lose belly fat here.

Along with diet and lifestyle tips, you will find full view on diet chart, best foods, and exercise meal plan that you can implement to begin your weight loss journey in a healthy way.

1. Light Dinner

Always aim for light dinner or an early dinner. This will give your body sufficient time to digest the food before you sleep and hence doesn’t overload your metabolism.

Also, your heaviest meal of the day should be lunch, when your digestive fire is at its peak.

2. Herbs

Herbs can help accelerate the fat-burning process. Fenugreek seeds aid digestion and prevent constipation. Triphala is also useful here. Another benefit is that these herbs help in detoxifying without leaving you dehydrated.

3. Freshly prepared nutritious meals

As much as you can, eat homemade food. In that way, you can control what you put in and how much. Fast food or restaurant usually include a lot of condiments to make the food attractive. Not all of these are healthy.

4. Drink warm water

Taking 2-3 glasses of warm water can facilitate fat breakdown in the body. Also, when you sip water before eating, it stimulates satiety so that you need to eat less.

5. Eat healthily without going on a diet

You don’t have to starve yourself or go on a strict diet to lose weight.

  • Eat less refined carbs
  • More lean fats
  • More dietary fiber, etc.

A final word!

How do you avoid the side effects of rapid weight loss? Well, keep in mind that you need to maintain a healthy weight at all times. It should not be only when you have an immediate target.

Eat healthily, exercise well, and stay in shape. That is sustainable. That way, you don’t have to engage in harmful weight loss practices.

References

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About the Author

Nidhi Bansal

Nidhi is the Founder of Medhya Herbals, a wellness venture that offers natural health solutions for Women. She has set on a mission to solve & simplify women's health care problems with all natural and holistic Ayurveda. Medhya Herbals offers Ayurvedic treatment through 1:1 Doctor consultations, Personalised Diet, Lifestyle and Exercise plans and online learning programmes. Start healing today!

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