I’m going to begin this article by pointing out a very unfortunate truth about rapid weight loss: it’s an oxymoron. I understand this is not what you want to hear, but let’s take a look at why that is and why you’ve been led to believe otherwise. I usually shy away from such anti-climatic opening statements, but this topic deserves no sugar-coating. Not only because of its falsehood but because of the fact that it is very unhealthy for those who are conned into believing that rapid weight loss is the real deal and try and make this pipe dream a reality.
I’m not going to dive into particular diets or supplements that claim to do wonders for your body composition in a short span of time, instead I’m going to deal with the general concept of rapid weight loss and why everything I said about it above is spot on. It is an oxymoron, simply on the grounds that rapid and weight loss do not mix. We are human, and as far as I know, we have natural limits. Rapid weight loss is not located within those limits, it shouldn’t even exist as a phrase, let alone a concept. Human nature forces us to look for the easy way out, the idea of fast results with the least amount of work. Various media and supplement companies have capitalized on this, and sell people false hopes that they spend their hard earned money on. Not only that, but they endanger themselves in the process. So, essentially, they’re paying to harm themselves. Doesn’t sound great, does it?
If we take a look at our most fundamental understanding of how losing weight works, we have to revert to understanding the concept of maintenance calories in order to make sense of things. In a flash summary, the concept revolves around Calories In vs. Calories out (if you burn more per day based on your activity levels, than you consume in that day through food, you’ll lose weight).
No doubt you’ve seen the correlation between fancy fad diets in magazines and on TV, and the idea of rapid weight loss. Most of these diets attempt to persuade you that rapid weight loss is not only true, but the standard result of that particular diet’s doing. Claims of 10 pounds a week are not unheard of, and assuming you don’t actually buy the excited customer reviews as being 100% authentic, by the time some progress pictures roll around and you’re introduced to a “secret” physiological reaction that only that product produces, you’re more than willing to give it a go. After all, nothing like some fast and easy results, right? “It won’t hurt to try it!”, or will it? Here’s the problem.
Whenever you attempt to drastically drop weight, you’re going to wind up doing a huge turnaround in terms of diet, which your body is not going to be used to. Sure, you’re going to drop some quick water weight if you’re doing it right, which will make you feel like rapid weight loss is the real deal. However, maybe after a few actual pounds of fat loss, all of that will stop and you’ll witness a strong case of stagnation every time you step on the scale. Your body, after an extended period of crash dieting (which is the only way you can actually attempt rapid weight loss), will enter starvation mode. It will literally try to hold onto whatever fat you got on you, because its under such stress from the extended sub-optimal caloric intake.
It’s a natural mechanism, you can’t change it. Not only will this stop fat loss, but it will burn lean muscle tissue, because during times of crisis fat is needed for proper organ function (ever wonder why extremely low body fat levels aren’t recommended? – not that you’ll reach those levels, but you’ll be tricking your body into thinking it’s about to lose it all), while muscle is practically useless (during this crisis). With muscle loss comes that flat look, which you can learn more about in our Lose Weight, Lose Fat article (if you’re trying to get in better shape, there’s definitely a big difference between the two). Furthermore, such low caloric intake levels really mess with your body on the inside. It doesn’t have the necessary amounts of nutrients to properly function, and over time, this can lead to some extreme problems involving organ failure, etc. However, that might be taking it a bit too far…so you probably don’t have to worry, and let me tell you why.
Most of the time, the people who feel the need to attempt rapid weight loss are looking to maximize results with the least amount of work. As soon as those results fall short of their expectations, so do their attempts. Therefore, they might crash diet for a couple of weeks, and as soon as those results start to stagnate and they’re on the brink of starvation mode, they give in and rebound the weight by returning to their regular diets (therefore, sparing the major long term problems). Nonetheless, the point I’m trying to make is that rapid weight loss is pointless for that exact reason. It simply gets you back to your starting point, with an added dose of unnecessary bodily stress. Think about all those times you’ve seen people do some magical diet, lose some weight, and then automatically return back to their old selves after a while. It’s because that diet only works temporarily, as they’ve clearly went to the extremes to reach their desired state and are no longer able to continue those extremes after a while, so they balloon back up. Rapid weight loss never gets you anywhere, slow and steady wins the race.
If you want to do it right, make sure you opt for losing fat (not weight), and do it the right way. Read our article on figuring out your Maintenance Calories and follow that up with an article specifically targeted at discussing Calories for Fat Loss, and watch the weight drop. You can remain sane in the process, and not get too restrictive if you know what you’re doing. For help with creating a diet that doesn’t make you want to quit each and every day, factor in our Easy Ways to Lose Weight and Clean Food/Bad Food: Benefits of Both articles. Remember, we are human and we have natural limits. No diet, pill, or powder will change those limits. If they claim they do, it’s a scam. Fat loss can be achieved, and can be done under conditions you enjoy, but you need to remember that it’s a slow process that takes time. I’m sure if you create a diet that fits you, based on the wealth of information provided in the articles I linked to, you won’t even have a problem dropping those pounds week by week. So do it right, and keep your body happy. If your body is happy, you will be too when you see those results in the mirror (over time). Good luck!
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