Complications of Losing Weight Too Fast

Have you ever lost some weight but put it back on? Chances are that you tried to do it too fast. Actually, many people eat extreme low-calorie diet to reach the target weight as soon as possible. Experts say that losing weight too fast in this way is not sustainable. It can also lead to complications such as loose skin, hair loss, low libido, etc. If you want to shed some weight, follow a sustainable weight loss program that works steadily without shocking the systems of your body.


What Happens If You Lose Weight Too Fast?

1.     Loss of Body Fluid

A lot of people celebrate losing five or so pounds in a few weeks. Unfortunately, all they’ve lost is body fluid and dissolved electrolytes. Body fluid is a transport medium, while electrolytes are involved in electrical conduction that controls the workings of your muscles, including the heart. When you lose body fluids and electrolytes below a certain level, your body organs cannot perform well enough to maintain your health.

2.     Nutritional Deficiency

A crash diet excludes many types of food which would otherwise supply additional nutrients. This leads to nutritional deficiencies which may affect various body functions.

3.     Fatigue

A drastic reduction in your daily nutrition deprives your body of the source of energy. As a result, the body’s metabolic rate slows down, as it goes into maintenance mode, with most of the available fuel diverted to critical organs such as heart and brain. This causes fatigue and lethargy and may leave you feeling sleepy. In this condition, you will be unable to exercise, denying your body a chance to lose weight sustainably.

4.     Loose, Sagging Skin

An obese person who loses a large percentage of body weight in a few weeks will be left with folds of sagging skin in several parts of the body. This happens because losing weight too fast robs the skin of adequate time to adjust to the new dimensions. As a result, the skin loses its elasticity, becoming sagging and loose. Painful chafing may also occur. 

5.     Hair loss

Losing weight suddenly can be accompanied by hair loss. Note that hair requires nourishment to grow. When you cut down on calories, you are likely to eat less of the hair feeding nutrients such as protein and iron. You may, however, regain your hair by reverting to eating a more nutritious diet.

6.     Reduction of Muscle Tissues

When you lose weight too rapidly, you may end having a reduction in muscle tissue. Calorie breakdown mainly happens within the muscles. Reduction in muscle tissue lowers calorie breakdown and metabolic rate. This can lead to weight gain. To guard against muscle tissue reduction, combine dieting with exercise.

7.     Formation of Gallstones

Rapid weight loss can lead to the formation of gallstones as cholesterol deposits harden. The risk is even higher for obese people who go on extreme diets. Gallstones cause nausea and stomach cramps.

8.     Liver Disease

Rapid weight loss can cause liver diseases, such as fatty liver. This is most common in obese people, but also occurs in people who lose weight too fast. Experts say the cause could be the rapid change in the fatty acid profile within the liver.

9.     Elevated Risk of Diabetes

Losing weight too fast exposes you to a higher risk of diabetes. Studies involving people who have lost weight rapidly have shown that they have a higher risk of developing diabetes in the long term. Others get insulin imbalance complications due to stress arising from the shock of sudden change in weight. These complications occur as your body reacts with the aim of preserving the status quo for survival.

10.     Poor Cognitive Function

A skimpy diet for losing weight fast may only provide the body with enough nutrients for survival. This causes deficiency in glucose, making thought processes suffer. You may feel in a fog and have trouble concentrating.

11.     Possible Heart Problems

Rapid change in weight is stressing for the heart and may affect the heart rate and blood pressure. Research has suggested that repeated indulgence in crash diets increases the risk of heart attack.

12.     Decreased Sex Drive

An extreme weight loss program can affect your libido. Surveys of people on weight loss diets have found that they have lower sex drive. This may also be accompanied by depression.

13.     Increased Stress Level

Following a weight loss diet that is low in various nutrients slows the metabolic rate and shocks the body. It releases more cortisol hormone (stress hormone) which makes you feel physically, emotionally and mentally stressed.

14.    Diarrhea or Constipation

Various diets for rapid weight loss can cause diarrhea or constipation. Diarrhea causes loss of fluids, electrolytes and the few nutrients you have taken, even before they are absorbed.

Constipation causes waste meant for excretion to sit in your gut too long. This can cause other complications such as poisoning, growth of harmful microbes and increased weight.

How Fast to Lose Weight

Because losing weight too fast is unsustainable and may lead to many complications, it’s best to avoid it. Then how fast should you lose weight?

Many experts advise that you follow a moderate weight loss program which consists of slightly reduced calorie intake combined with physical exercise. Aim to lose no more than 1 to 2 pounds in a week. You can achieve this by reducing your daily calorie intake by 250 calories and do exercises to burn 250 extra calories. This will lead to a cumulative reduction of 3500 calories in a week, equivalent to 1 pound weight loss.

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