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Why you should opt for gradual weight loss
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Why you should opt for gradual weight loss

While quick weight loss plans and programs yield results and have many takers, they could impact the body and overall health negatively, say experts

Why should you opt for gradual weight loss?

With more than a billion people reportedly being obese across the world, weight reduction and management are the need of the hour. However, one need not rush for it. Fast results are the cultural norm in almost all walks of life, and quick weight loss journeys are trending. People seek various avenues to shed the extra pounds, keeping specific dates and targets in mind — a wedding, a corporate event, or just holidays.

The fitness industry, too, fuels the fire by catering to those seeking instant results with exercise programs, diets, and lifestyle modifications. As a result, the focus has shifted from gradual weight loss journeys. However, crash weight cuts may not be sustainable in the long run, say experts. It may also be unhealthy since such weight loss may lead to not just fat loss, but the overall decline of health.

Non-linear weight loss pattern 

Human kinetics and physiology are pretty complex, making it impossible to observe a uniform weight loss pattern in people. Rather, one can see different results in themselves across different times. “The weight loss won’t be linear,” says Gautham Sangappa, director of Proton Fitness Academy, Bangalore. “Even with the same effort and dedication toward losing weight across different months, the number of kilos shed may decrease from one month to the next.

Experts share that forming healthy habits is also essential to achieve the required weight loss. “Making simple changes to your diet and physical activity are crucial,” says Dr Satish N, senior consultant and bariatric surgery, Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru, while explaining how it can be done.

How to lose weight gradually

Health implications of quick weight loss

It is always advisable to lose weight gradually. However, many end up hitting extremes while dieting and exercising to get quick results. Instead, they may end up with major health implications. Sangappa says, “One should plan to lose weight gradually with a calorie deficit of only about 200 to 300 calories per day. Drastic changes and cutting down too many calories will result in weight loss that leads to the loss of muscle mass, fat, glycogen and water.”

Further, after rapid weight loss, one could regain it in no time. Sangappa explains, “This is because significant muscle mass loss occurring with quick weight loss slows down the metabolism. Thus, calories cannot be burnt at the same rate. So, when you start eating normally again, you start regaining the lost weight.” 

When one tries quick weight loss with unmonitored diet routines, nutritional inadequacy can kick in, which can lead to many complications. Dr Satish adds, “Metabolism shifts, hair loss, rapid muscle loss, constipation, fatigue, demineralization of bone, and low immunity are other risks one should be cautious about.”

How much weight can you lose healthily?

Experts spoke to Happiest Health about how much weight one can lose in a month without impacting their health. Sangappa advises that one can lose about 1.5–2 kg a month. He adds, “If several aspects related to weight loss are micromanaged, one can lose more weight. However, this can be difficult for an average person to do.”

Large calorie deficit diets could cause the body to break down muscle for energy, affecting strength, athletic performance, and metabolism. If you lose more than 4–5 kg in a month, it means you probably engaged in unhealthy behaviors to achieve this. Crash dieting may damage your metabolism in the long term and negatively affect your ability to lose weight in the future,” says Dr Satish. “ Attempting to lose more than 4 kg in one month leads to initial weight loss followed by gaining weight,” he adds.

However, athletes, sportspersons and fitness enthusiasts might be able to lose more weight by following strict diets and exercise regimens. 

Long-term weight management

If long-term weight loss is your goal, a steady and well-paced process like a gradual weight loss program can help. “Maintain consistency and stick to the healthy habits that led to weight loss. Continue to monitor your weight to catch any changes early,” says Dr Satish N.

By staying consistent with healthy habits, it’s possible to lose weight and maintain the lost weight successfully.

Takeaways

  • Quick weight loss plans don’t always work in the long run — gradual weight loss programs are better.
  • Losing weight quickly in a short period results in metabolism shifts, hair loss, rapid muscle loss, constipation, fatigue, demineralization of bone and low immunity. The lost weight is also regained soon.
  • Maintaining consistency and sticking to the healthy habits that lead to weight loss is helpful while trying to successfully maintain a lower body weight.

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