The Possible Problems and Dangers of Rapid Weight Loss

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People are searching for weight loss programs and diets today. However, they seem to be searching more specifically for programs offering rapid weight loss more than those targeting permanent, healthy weight loss.

Unfortunately, it is a fact that quick diet weight loss programs are seldom without their dangers, and their results usually range from the erratic to the nonexistent.

Before even beginning the following discussion, I would immediately advise anyone seeking to lose weight to substitute the term 'healthy weight loss program' for 'rapid weight loss program' in their mind. I hope, the following short discussion will explain and clarify my reasons for this, at least to some extent.

You, like so many of us in today's society, are concerned about losing weight.

I understand this as it affects me as well.

Just as so many other people, you are seeking some sort of rapid weight loss plan or program. Rapid weight loss, also often referred to as quick weight loss or fast weight loss, involves, as its name implies, losing weight in a short period of time. Claims of such programs often cite fantastic results occuring in anywhere from two to seven days.

In the United States today, approximately two-thirds of the adult population is overweight or obese, and hundreds of thousands of these Americans are understandably interested in rapidly losing that unwanted weight. Additionally, as western culture and habits are adopted by other nations and peoples, they too begin to experience a greater percentage of obesity and weight related health issues.

Many of these people, while concerned about the health issues associated with being overweight, simply wish to lose weight before an important event, like an upcoming vacation or a wedding. There are those, however, who are willing to accept the fact that permanent, healthy weight loss is the best solution, but is also a lifetime commitment.

It is certainly simple to understand how you can want to lose weight as fast as possible. To tell the truth, however, you really need to proceed with caution. Although it certainly is possible to lose weight, or at least a small part of it, in a relatively short period of time, you should realize that there are dangers and problems associated with doing so.

One of the many dangers of rapid weight loss is simply one which is inherent in some of the many measures that some people take.

For instance, it is common to hear of individuals who have decided to fast, i.e. not to eat, while trying to achieve a rapid weight loss goal. Going without food, for even a short period of time, can be dangerous to your health. It deprives you of many of the nutrients necessary to health and will shortly cause your metabolism to slow down. At that point, initial weight loss will cease if it hasn't already. At some future time, when you return to your normal consumption of calories, as most dieters do, your body will burn fewer of the calories you take in, and any excess will be stored as fat...more fat than would have been accumulated before the rapid weight loss program was begun.

This commonly results in a situation in which the person now weighs more than they did before the weight loss program or diet. Then they attempt to lose the weight by going back on the same diet or a similar program. This time, the weight loss is harder to accomplish, the basic metabolic rate may diminish even more, and the person will eventually go off the diet and gain more weight!

This is a cycle often referred to as yo-yo dieting, and, as you can see, it is a self-defeating situation.

During an extreme diet, one in which even as little as two to three pounds a week are lost, the dieter can experience the loss of lean muscle mass in addition to fat. Lean muscle mass is the 'incinerator' which burns excess calories which would become fat if not disposed of, and its loss can only make healthy weight loss even more difficult.

Additionally, with less lean muscle, the person is less likely to feel like engaging in a physical activity which could help burn fat.

While an actual rapid weight loss 'danger' is relatively small in most cases, though quite genuine, the results, or lack of same, when combined with the loss of needed nutrients do not really seem worth the effort or risk. However, be aware that in the presence of some clinical conditions or while attempting to achieve rapid weight loss through extreme measures, the danger to health, and even life itself, can be quite real.


A better alternative to simply 'going on a diet' is to gradually cut back on the food that you do eat, particularly empty foods such as those sweetened with sugar, or heavily processed foods, or just make sure that it is healthy foods which you are eating. Through limiting of your calories, you ought to be able to accomplish some sort of weight loss in the time that you were wanting to. However, it is very important that you do stick to a healthy eating and living plan.


Along with healthy eating and living practices, another important component of weight loss should always be exercise.

Unfortunately, many individuals do not realize that it can take up to one week or more to notice any signs of results from exercise, and very obvious results will possibly take weeks or even months. However, in the long run, exercise, combined with sensible diet, proper hydration (plenty of water), and rest will result in a more permanent and more healthy weight loss experience.

Note, by the way, that those beginning an exercise program, particularly one which includes a strength training component...and it should...might actually notice a small weight gain for the first few days or even weeks. This is perfectly normal and is merely the result of adding lean muscle mass, faster than fat is loss. Lean muscle tissue is healthier for the body, and will help burn fat and calories. The scary part for the individual hoping to lose weight, however, is that the scale is saying their weight loss plan is a failure. The best indicators of success at this time is the fit of your clothes, the comments of others, and the image in your mirror.

With all that having been said, the good news is that the more weight you need to lose, the sooner it is that you may actually start seeing results from a combined program of regular exercise and healthy eating and living.

While exercise should certainly be a major part of any plan for losing weight in a healthy and permanent manner, it is very important that you not overdo it.

This is an especially important point if you haven't previously had a regular exercise plan. Running on the treadmill for two hours, instead of twenty minutes, may burn fat faster, but, at the same time, it may also land you in the hospital or have you walking around in pain for the next few days.

It is much better to begin an exercise program at an extremely safe level and gradually work your way up to more difficult workouts than to start at some higher point just because you can. Try too much too soon, and you will either give up because maintaining that pace is just too difficult, or because of some exercise injury.


Another problem that should be considered when discussing rapid weight loss, is the affect of medications or weight loss products...particularly those sold off the supermarket shelf or through some magazine ad or an Internet website.

The good news is that while some of these products do work a little...sometimes...and some are even safe, you may not be able to tell what you are getting for your money or what it will do to your health in the long run. These products, such as the Alli diet pill, work best, if at all, when used in combination with a regular program of exercise and proper nutritional practices anyway. If, however, you are already doing that, it is fairly certain that you are losing a safe amount of weight at a healthy rate without having to pay for an additional helper which has no permanent health benefit and stops working as soon as you stop using it.

By the way, did you ever notice that most diet pills and weight loss products include a statement to the effect that their product works best with exercise and proper nutrition?

If you think you are interested in using a weight loss product, like a diet pill or a colon cleanse, to help you lose weight, it is important that you do the research first. This should, at the very least, involve reading reviews of the product to learn about its effectiveness, and discusing it with a qualified healthcare professional.

It is extremely important that you proceed with the utmost caution if the idea of rapid weight loss still appeals to you.

Although unexpected events or appearances will occur without much notice, most individuals have at least a month's worth of time before attending a large event such as a wedding or even going on a vacation to someplace where they wear bikinis all day. As soon as you are aware that an event is looming on the horizon, you should start trying to lose weight in a healthy and reasonable manner, if that is your desire.

An even better tactic might simply to be to adopt a healthy lifestyle of proper nutrition combined with exercise. Then you won't ever have to worry about such events, and you won't have to 'diet' or try some other means of achieving rapid weight loss.

About the Author:

Donovan Baldwin is a 67-year-old amateur bodybuilder, freelance writer, certified optician, and Internet marketer currently living in the Dallas - Fort Worth, Texas area. A University Of West Florida alumnus (1973) with a BA in accounting, he has been a member of Mensa and has held several managerial and supervisory positions throughout his career. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, with 21 years of service, he became interested in Internet marketing and developed various online businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes original articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. He has an online store of various homeopathic and herbal health products which can be found at

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