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Extreme weight loss diets: Are they safe?

Losing weight and getting fit is something that many people have on their to-do list. Most of us want to do it as quickly and easily as possible. We live in a society in which everyone prefers a shortcut and wants to do things without putting in work. Losing weight is no different.

Even though most people know that losing a lot of weight in a short time is not the best approach to getting slimmer, thousands of Canadians embark on extreme weight loss diets with the hope of achieving their ideal weight goals.

Are extreme weight loss diets safe?

The short answer is that most are not. There are hundreds of diet programs out there, many of them claiming to be the most effective way for losing excess weight and body fat. Ask yourself: Do you really know the impact that extreme weight loss can have on your body?

According to FitDay, “the consequences of extreme dieting are not pretty, as they all involve debilitating effects on your body; in some cases, some consequences may even be a threat to life itself. The consequences are so extreme that they involve both physical as well as mental degradation, a true debilitation.”

Here are some of the potential risks associated with losing weight too quickly:

  • Physical fatigue
  • Sinus issues
  • Rashes
  • Gallbladder issues
  • Light-headedness and low blood pressure
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Malnutrition
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Irritability
  • Decreased energy
  • Depression
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Increased risk of developing an eating disorder

Doesn't sound so rosy, does it? Overall, extreme changes put too much stress on your body. If you need to lose a lot of weight, you are likely not healthy enough to place the kind of stress on your body that is associated with an extreme weight loss plan.

Lose weight the healthy way

Extreme weight loss is not sustainable over time. Your body won't be able to keep pace, and you will only do damage to your system. Most people who attempt to lose a large amount of weight in a short time tend to gain it back and end up in yo-yo diet limbo. If you really want to lose weight and keep it off, you need to make a lifestyle change and focus on doing things the right way.

Five tips for losing weight safely

If you are serious about losing weight and getting healthy, follow these tips:

  1. Be realistic: You should be realistic with yourself about your weight loss goals, timelines and your ability to make changes in your life. Losing weight is not easy, and it’s important to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to make the changes you will need to make. Consider how long it took for you to put the weight on. It may take as long to take it off.
  2. Talk to your doctor: Before starting any weight loss program, it’s important to talk with your doctor to make sure you are healthy enough and able to lose weight.
  3. Work with a trainer: Exercise is an important part of any weight loss plan. If you are new to working out, consider working with a personal trainer to help you with your training. They can help you develop a plan based on your current fitness level and weight loss goals.
  4. Adjust your diet progressively: Losing weight the right way is about making various changes to your diet over time. Cutting everything out right away will be a shock to your system. Make progressive changes to have long-term and lasting results.
  5. Track everything: What's the best way to monitor your progress? Tracking your results. Track your food intake and track your fitness plan. This will keep you pace to meet your goals, and it allows you to adjust your diet and exercise plan.

Are you currently on a weight loss program? Looking to cut a few pounds in the new year?. Part of a healthy lifestyle is protecting yourself with a health care coverage plan.