Losing weight, especially when it’s done to control or prevent disease, is a very healthy part of life. It’s a great way to stay fit and keep off extra weight, which may lead to risky medical conditions. Unfortunately, when weight is lost through unhealthy and drastic measures, it can actually cause more problems than it solves.
There are several dangers of extreme weight loss. Below are a few of the most prevalent ones.
Most people suffer from minor bouts of dehydration at least once in their lives, which usually doesn’t cause any major issues.
However, rapid weight loss can make dehydration a constant problem, which can lead to serious health conditions. Most extreme weight loss programs don’t concentrate on losing calories and excess fat, they focus on shedding water weight.
This means the body is losing more water than it is being given. Water is vital for the body to function, so it needs all the water that’s flushed out to be replenished.
#2. Irregular Heart Rhythms
The heart is the organ that controls the oxygen and blood that move throughout the body. When weight is lost over a period of time, it gives the heart time to adjust to the new body for which it needs to provide support.
However, when extreme weight is lost rapidly, it shocks the heart. Just like any other muscle, if the heart is over or under worked, it can cause a lot of stress. This leads to irregular heart rhythms.
Unfortunately, if this issue isn’t dealt with properly, it could lead to heart failure.
Healthy weight loss systems usually focus on exercise and a proper diet. These diets include foods that provide the nutrients and enough calories to keep the body functioning properly.
Extreme weight loss programs, however, tend to focus on diets that have extremely low calorie intake. Since calories are what provide the body with energy, this can lead an individual to be extremely tired.
Those who participate in extreme weight loss systems usually find that they’re too tired to work out and often give up their efforts before too much time has passed.
#4. Weight Gain
This might seem a little hard to believe, but losing weight through extreme methods usually results in the weight being gained back. And, in a lot of cases, this weight is actually more than the initial weight that was lost.
Because many extreme weight loss programs require limits on what users can and cannot eat, when they go off the diet, they tend to binge eat to make up the lost calories.
For most, it isn’t worth losing all the weight to only regain it plus some afterwards.
This has already been alluded to on this list, but deserves a point of its own. Healthy diets include a variety of components, from vitamins and minerals to carbs and protein. The body needs some of everything.
However, extreme weight loss usually comes as the result of cutting out important parts of the diet, like fats or carbs. While it’s true these should be limited and come from healthy sources, cutting them out completely can result in malnutrition.
With malnutrition comes a host of other problems. Many of these issues have to do with deficiencies, so it’s common to see those who lose extreme weight dealing with problems like anemia or hypothyroidism.
Two nutrients that are commonly missing in extreme weight dieters are vitamin D and calcium. While all deficiencies are serious and should be reported to a doctor immediately, osteoporosis is one that can cause extreme and permanent damage.
When a person isn’t getting enough calcium or vitamin D and the risk of osteoporosis increases, bones become frailer and more brittle. This will make them more likely to fracture, even with small falls or accidents.
The problem with osteoporosis is that it takes very specific tests to identify, so many people don’t even know they have the condition. Thankfully, with the right diet and exercise, the bones can be strengthened.
Extreme weight loss doesn’t just cause damage to the body, it can also cause damage to the brain. Issues with concentration and clarity are common with those who use restrictive diets to lose weight.
Many report feeling like they’re in a fog, which is only made worse by their exhaustion.
This makes the whole weight loss process extremely difficult, which often results in them quitting the program and often gaining back the weight. On top of this, lack of clarity can cause issues in other parts of a persons’ life, like work and personal relationships.