Rapid Weight Loss: What Are The Risks?

Kayla Itsines

July 11, 2018

Rapid Weight Loss: What Are The Risks? - Hero image

Ladies, I’m sure you already know that I don’t believe in quick fixes when talking about health and weight loss.

While it might sound somewhat appealing to be able to ‘drop a dress size’ in a week, the reality is that many of these crash diets can be dangerous, unhealthy and are not a sustainable long-term solution to weight loss. If losing weight is one of your health and fitness goals (and it doesn't need to be!), I want to be totally clear that trying to lose weight too fast is not the healthiest or even the safest goal to set yourself.

Today I’m talking about the things you need to know about trying to lose weight too quickly.

You don't need to focus on fast weight loss to be healthy

The "dramatic weight loss" mentality that gets fed to us all the time can be damaging, not only physically but also mentally. Whether you are wanting to lose weight for health reasons or to tone up because you don't feel happy and confident, there should never be a time limit on achieving that. I strongly believe that being healthy and confident isn’t just ONE look, it’s not one certain body type or a set of rules that you have to follow. Confidence is achieved through being happy in your own skin, and loving your own body. We are all unique individuals and that should be celebrated, you can use someone else as your motivation, but never focus on looking solely like them. Our bodies are all made differently and I want you girls to remember we are all special in our own right, as long as you love yourself - that is all that matters. Whilst they may not be extremely damaging as a once-off, following fad diets and detoxes can lead to unhealthy habits, such as yo-yo dieting, which can potentially lead to weight gain rather than weight loss. Many of these pages promising fast results are based on restricting yourself, generally your diet, and some can even include grueling exercise regimes. The most important thing to remember is that these types of diets are not healthy nor sustainable. Yes, you may lose some weight in a few days if you cut out entire food groups, but are you really happy? Is it truly worth it? Do you feel healthy?

What can happen when you lose weight fast?

Extreme diet plans or crash diets can actually be counterproductive. Rapid weight loss due to unhealthy restrictions can leave a person feeling deprived, which may lead to a binge. 

Attempting to lose weight quickly can also have some potential health risks. 

Potential risks of losing weight fast

Healthy weight loss is usually achieved through sustainable lifestyle changes. That means taking into account your nutritional needs and getting regular exercise. 

Without those things, you may be setting yourself up for the following health risks:

Risk one: dehydration

Have you ever wondered why some people talk about getting results from quick-fix weight loss trends? In most cases, this is because of a loss in water weight which may trick you into thinking you’ve lost weight. 

The problem with this is rather than losing body fat, your body is simply getting rid of fluid and wastage. Basically, your body has flushed the fluids from your organs and cells. Unfortunately, this can put you at risk of dehydration because your body is eliminating fluids so quickly and these are important in order for it to function properly.

Risk two: increased stress hormones

Rapid weight loss may have an impact on your hormones too. A sudden change to a restrictive diet or cutting back on the amount of food you are eating can trigger hormonal changes, especially when it comes to cortisol (the stress hormone). 

Some nasty side effects of these hormonal changes include headaches, mood swings, disrupted sleeping patterns and acne. In extreme cases, a drastic change to your hormones can also impact your menstrual cycle. As I’ve talked about before, elevated cortisol levels may lead to weight gain in the long-term — just another reason why losing weight quickly can impact your health.

Risk three: decreased muscle tone

When you don’t eat enough food to support your body’s functions, it can begin looking for other sources of fuel. That means your body can resort to breaking down muscle in order to power itself. You might find yourself feeling lethargic or light-headed if you are trying to work out with the same level of intensity but are not giving your body the fuel it needs. Plus, your body may then force itself to become more efficient by reducing the amount of calories it burns, which can slow down the results of your workouts. 

Following a healthy and well-balanced meal plan is the best way to ensure your body gets the energy it needs. That way your body will have the stamina to get through your workouts and to help repair muscle tissue, which can put you on the path to being stronger and more toned.    

Sweat is about so much more than your workouts

Feel your best - inside AND out

Those are just a few health risks of losing weight fast

Ladies, I know you might be reading this thinking that I am giving out a dose of tough love! The reason for that is because I want you to take care of yourselves. 

Any program or product that promises to help you lose weight fast should be approached with caution. Your health is so valuable, I want you to take the time to do your research and make sure any exercise or weight loss program is suitable for you in the long-term. 

My programs in the Sweat app are all about making sustainable changes to your lifestyle and being active for your physical and mental wellbeing. I don’t believe in quick-fix weight loss products because they often use unhealthy methods and can actually have negative effects on your mindset and your health. That’s not something I want you to risk. 

You should want to be the healthiest version of you, FOR you. That might mean weight loss takes a little bit longer but if you are going to feel better throughout the journey, it is so worth it.

Kayla Itsines

I’m Kayla Itsines, co-founder and head trainer at Sweat! I’ve been a certified personal trainer since 2008 and am also certified in pregnancy and postnatal exercise. My goal has always been to empower women by giving them the practical tools they need to improve their health and fitness and feel more confident.

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.


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