Are you one of those people who eat ‘nothing’ and yet are obese? Does even water make you fat? Are you envious of the people who can eat their heart out and still stay healthy and fit? Then you’re not alone... With more than half the population of the world suffering from obesity, dieting has become a major trend, mostly among young adults who want to look ‘desirable’.
Youngsters are always searching for ways to shed those extra pounds fast. Today, people are only looking for shortcuts and therefore gravitating towards impractical and unhealthy ways of weight loss, the extremes being starving or intentionally acquiring tapeworms!
When it comes to fashion, fitness or beauty, we always tend to get inspired by celebrities. It isn’t long ago when size zero, a trend set by Kareena Kapoor Khan, was considered synonymous to being ‘beautiful’ and had many girls chase the zero-figure. With a large number of celebrities supporting fad diets like the Master Cleanse, the HCG diet, or the cabbage soup diet– more people are opting to follow such diet plans rather than a gradual healthy lifestyle change. But one must keep in mind that celebrities follow these plans under professional guidance to ensure a proper weight loss with minimal side effects.
“A crash diet is the way to lose weight fast in a short period of time, by reducing the daily calorie intake to as low as 700 calories a day. Obviously it is uncomfortable, but it offers the opportunity to lose 5 to 20 pounds within a few days. They are not easy to follow, as most of them severely restrict the calorie intake.
It slso deprives your body of valuable nutrition thus putting a lot of stress on your body,” says Nidhi Sawhney, dietician at NutriAdvice. Although these diets give initial results, they cause untold damage to the body. Crash diets are actually one of the main reasons why people are obese and are only getting fatter regardless of the countless efforts they make to lose weight!
Crash diets crash your metabolism: These diets force your body into starvation mode and shut your metabolism down eventually making you store more fat than burning it. Thus, when you eat normally, you tend to gain back all the weight due to the incapability of your body to burn calories at the same pace as before.
“Rapid weight loss through crash diets can slow your metabolism, leading to future weight gain, and deprive your body of essential nutrients,” says Kiran Sawhney, a fitness expert. “Crash diets can weaken your immune system and increase the risk of dehydration, heart palpitations, and cardiac stress,” she adds.
You lose mostly water weight: Our body keeps fat as the last reserve and loses all the water, proteins and muscles during such attempts to weight loss. This loss is damaging to your body in the long run.
Likely to increase body fat: When you get back to normal eating, you tend to binge eat, which increases the levels of insulin in the body, in turn promoting the storage of fats. However, the weight lost during the crash diet is unlikely to be 100 per cent fat. This means that you now have more number of fat cells than before.
“When someone loses a lot of weight, some part of that weight is always likely to be lean body mass (muscle and bone) rather than fat. Overall loss of lean body mass is associated with poor health, especially as we age,” Nidhi explains.
Decreases Leptin: Leptin is the ‘satiety hormone’ of the body and signals our brain when we need to stop eating. When you gain weight, your body develops a Leptin Resistance and stops responding to the stimuli, thus, making you feel hungry constantly and eat more food than required.
Mental and emotional exhaustion: Starving often leads to extreme food cravings which in turn makes you feel irritated and depressed. Such diets can also lead to more serious disorders like Anorexia and Bulimia.
Weight loss is all about a lifestyle change. Gradually incorporating healthy habits to lose weight will give more sustainable and practical results. Today, we have people like Anant Ambani who have achieved almost impossible targets with a mix of healthy eating and correct workout regimen.
“It’s important to lose weight safely, which usually means slowly. One must eat healthy to stay healthy and start loving their body,” suggests Kiran.