Is It Unhealthy To Lose Weight Quickly?

In today’s society, there are many myths surrounding weight loss and health. On the one hand, there are a whole host of products and diet plans that claim to help slim you down very quickly. On the other, there are messages telling you that losing weight quickly is harmful to your health. Some people are worried that if they lose weight too quickly they will be unable to “tone up”.

So what is fact and what is fiction? Here is our overall guide to getting the healthiest results when losing weight.

Is It Best To Just Lose The Weight and Then Get Healthy?

This is a common temptation for people who feel they have weight to lose. However, any fad diet or unsustainable program is not the way to go about starting your new healthy lifestyle. Restricting key parts of your diet – like carbs or unsaturated fats – is not a good foundation for a long-term health plan.

It’s easy to convince yourself that once you are at your goal weight you will then work on a proper balanced diet. However, you are best to cultivate these healthy habits as you lose weight, rather than only teaching yourself opposing versions of an unhealthy lifestyle.

Also, it’s important to remember that many fad diets cause a big difference in the scales by causing loss of water weight or even lean tissue. This is different and less productive for your health than losing fat. As with most things, there isn’t a quick fix for losing fat – it takes longer and more effort but is certainly worth it.

What about Doctors Who Recommend Rapid Weight Loss?

Of course, your doctor should have the final say on your recommended diets. If your weight is causing an immediate threat to your health, a doctor may recommend a low-calorie diet to quickly alleviate as much harmful fat as possible.

You should not follow a template of such a diet if you have not been recommended to by a doctor. An unsupervised diet that causes very fast weight loss can have a negative impact on your organs.

In addition, you and your doctor or a dietician should create a long-term plan for once your initial weight has come off. A very low-calorie diet is of course not sustainable long-term so you will need to find a balanced plan that will keep you at a healthy weight.

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So How Quickly Can You Lose Weight Healthily?

This is entirely dependent on your start weight and your lifestyle. In general, if your daily calorie consumption is very high with minimal to no exercise, you will find altering this lifestyle will reap very quick initial weight loss.
If you are already fairly active or you eat the recommended calorie intake, you will find that your weight loss seems slower in comparison. The general rule for steady weight loss is 1-2 pounds a week.

The main thing to focus on is your lifestyle, rather than the scales. If you are eating a balanced diet that meets your recommended intake and engaging in a moderate physical activity for 150 minutes a week, that will start you off on a healthy weight loss journey.

If you decide to increase your level of physical activity, you should alter your diet accordingly. While burning off more than you consume is the main foundation of weight loss, you need to fuel your body. Depriving your body of protein, for example, will hinder your body repairing and building your muscles after exercises. Cutting out carbs will mean you have less energy to complete a full workout properly.

As with all things, balance is the key. It may take longer than a fad diet promises, but losing weight through a balanced diet and exercise will give you far better long-term results.

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.

Claire Muszalski

Claire Muszalski

Registered Dietitian

Claire is a Registered Dietitian through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a board-certified Health and Wellness Coach through the International Consortium for Health and Wellness Coaching. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master’s degree in Clinical Dietetics and Nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.

Talking and writing about food and fitness is at the heart of Claire’s ethos as she loves to use her experience to help others meet their health and wellness goals.

Claire is also a certified indoor cycling instructor and loves the mental and physical boost she gets from regular runs and yoga classes. When she’s not keeping fit herself, she’s cheering on her hometown’s sports teams in Pittsburgh, or cooking for her family in the kitchen.

Find out more about Claire’s experience here.

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