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Home / Weight Loss / How to lose weight fast

How to lose weight fast

Quick weight loss is an aim millions of people are trying to achieve. But when preoccupied with how to lose weight quickly, many dieters neglect their health in the process. However, to achieve and sustain a healthy weight, it is important to take care of your body whilst following a strict diet and exercise regime. We are looking at quick yet healthy ways of losing weight and highlight the long-term consequences fast weight loss can have for your health and wellbeing if not executed with care.

What are the health risks of quick weight loss?

Losing weight at a rate of more than 1kg per week can have certain side effects and long-term consequences. These include:

  • Any weight lost is likely to be excess water and not fat
  • Any weight lost is likely to be regained
  • You may become dehydrated
  • You may suffer from diarrhoea or constipation
  • You may become malnourished, which can cause fatigue
  • You may suffer from dry hair and skin and weak nails
  • You may experience anxiety, depression or irritability

Effects of crash diets

atkins diet cabbage soup maple syrup
The Atkins diet involves eating almost exclusively protein, with limited carbohydrates and fibre. The cabbage soup diet does not restrict how much food you eat but seriously restricts your variety. The maple syrup diet allows you to eat no solid food, ingesting only maple syrup with lemon, water and cayenne pepper.

The body is designed to stop itself from losing too much weight too quickly. If you try to lose more than the advised amount of one to two pounds per week, your body will start using up its muscle stores rather than fat stores for energy. This reduction in lean muscle mass actually detracts from the effort of trying to lose weight, as muscle is what gives your body a toned physique.

A higher percentage of muscle mass also increases your physical performance when you exercise, which allows you to burn more calories. Having a higher muscle mass also speeds up the metabolism, meaning that the body uses up more calories even when you're asleep. To prevent your body from using its stores of muscle mass for energy, you should always consume at least 1,200 calories every day while you are trying to lose weight.

Starvation mode

In order to maintain your weight, the physical activity carried out in a day will burn the fat reserves which are formed by the calories ingested. If the two match up, no weight will be gained.

calorie utilization

When you don't feed your body enough calories, it will go into 'starvation mode', which means the metabolism is purposely slowed by your body to avoid using up valuable energy. The body will hold onto any calories consumed because it doesn't know when more calories will enter the body, preventing you from losing weight. If you make a habit of crash dieting, it can cause adverse long-term effects on the natural functioning of your metabolism, making it harder to control your weight in the future.

Yo-yo dieting

Often when people try to lose weight on a crash diet, it signals the beginning of a vicious cycle, where their weight ends up fluctuating up and down. This occurs when a crash diet is followed by binge eating and re-gaining any weight that was lost. In many cases people gain more weight than they lost following the crash or fad diet, causing the person to suffer from guilt as a result.

How can I lose weight healthily?

Losing weight fast through extreme dieting or exercising is not the route to take for a healthy weight loss. You should instead focus on eating a healthy, calorie-controlled diet and exercising regularly to help you lose weight slowly, safely and sensibly, which in turn will help you to maintain your weight loss.

Aim to reduce your daily calorie intake by 300-500 calories through a combination of making improvements to your diet and burning off calories through exercise. If you maintain this daily you should lose between one to two pounds per week, which is the recommended amount of weight to lose healthily.

healthy food + jogging couple = weight measurement tool

Try to create routines for yourself which help you stick to a healthier lifestyle. Creating a meal plan can help you stay on top of your calorie intake, whilst you may find it helpful to set yourself exercise goals to achieve and maintain your fitness. This could involve signing up for a half marathon and creating a training pattern to prepare for this; signing up for exercise classes together with a friend or downloading one of the many freely available exercise apps.

Medically reviewed by
Dr. Sarah Donald MRCGP DFSRH DPD DRCOG Written by our editorial team
Last reviewed 26-05-2023
Weight Loss

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