Who hasn’t settled in to watch at least one episode of “The Biggest Loser”? We are impressed at weigh-in by the huge weight loss numbers earned by the leading contestants. We feel sorry for the poor guy or girl who only lost a pound or two and stands crying on the scales.
As much as the networks would like us to believe it, this is far from reality. In real life, slow and steady weight loss will bring you health and success in the end. Here’s why.
- Extreme weight loss actually lowers your metabolism. Severely restricting your calories makes your body think it is starving and it slows all your metabolic processes down. When you increase your calories (and you have to eventually), you gain the weight back. Sometimes you even gain MORE than what you lost originally.
- Extreme weight loss tends to burn muscle instead of fat. Muscle is what burns calories, so refer to number one for what will happen.
- Severely restricting your calories can leave you dehydrated, and fatigued. It’s hard to get all the nutrients you need when you cut calories to the bone so you may be left malnourished as well.
- EWL can be detrimental to a host of your organs. It puts stress on your heart, can cause gallstones and affect your brain processes. The lack of nutrients can mess with your neurotransmitters, which can lead to depression.
- If you are not giving your body the nutrients it needs (like calcium) it will take them where it can get them (like from your bones) leaving you at risk for things like bone density problems.
So what is healthy weight loss? The American Council on Exercise recommends one to two pounds per week. No one should restrict their calories to less than 1200 per day. In order to lose those one or two pounds per week, you need to combine calorie reduction and burning extra calories through exercise to make a 500 to 1000 calorie deficit per day. 3500 calories equals one pound. If you lose weight slowly, you will be doing it by changing your lifestyle (doing something you can sustain over time). You will be much more likely to be able to keep it off. Here’s a calorie calculator to help you figure out how many calories you should eat to lose weight the healthy way. Here’s a link to some videos to give you ideas to easily eliminate a few hundred calories per day.