Losing 1 to 2 pounds a week is considered safe and sustainable by experts, but specific weight loss goals depend on individual metrics, such as a person’s body mass index (BMI), gender, and level of physical activity. After six months, a person’s focus could shift from weight loss to weight maintenance based on weight loss and individual weight loss goals, according to the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute.
Diets that promote strict calorie restriction can provide faster weight loss, but potentially at a cost. According to a 2022 review in Frontiers in Nutrition, some fad diets, such as the Paleolithic diet, the ketogenic diet, and the detox diet, may pose certain risks to individuals, including:
- Inadequate nutrition due to inappropriate food restrictions, such as B. removing entire essential food groups such as whole grains, legumes and dairy products
- Loss of muscle mass instead of reducing body fat percentage
- Weight cycling or the process of losing and gaining weight, also known as the “yo-yo dieting” effect
- A slower metabolism or increased appetite
Additionally, few fad diets have been extensively researched, meaning there is little scientific evidence to support their long-term effectiveness and health outcomes.
Continuing to lose weight or maintaining initial weight loss through a restrictive diet can be extremely difficult. “Quick weight loss is almost always temporary weight loss,” says Margaret Schwenke, a board-certified eating psychology consultant and board-certified holistic health coach based in Boston. In addition, a “yo-yo” diet can potentially lead to health problems such as: B. an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and mental illnesses such as depression, according to a review in the Bulletin of the National Research Center.
It’s always best to speak with your doctor or an obesity medicine specialist before beginning any weight loss strategy to ensure the strategies you’re considering are right for your individual health and wellness needs.
The science behind weight loss
According to the National Lung, Heart, and Blood Institute, if a person’s goal is to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week, they must be in a calorie deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories a day.
But the process of weight loss is complex: metabolism is based on many factors, including age, gender, body composition, physical activity, stress and sleep, explains Cheryl Orlansky, an Atlanta-based registered dietitian and certified diabetes care and education specialist. “Weight loss isn’t as simple as calorie intake versus calorie output,” she adds.
A healthy weight loss program must include aerobic exercise, strength training, and behavior modifications in addition to calorie restriction in order to both achieve and maintain a person’s desired results. “When you diet without exercise, your metabolism slows and muscle mass declines before you lose fat,” says Dr. Houses.
Additionally, the body’s endocrine system compensates for persistent calorie deficits and works to increase a person’s appetite after diet-induced weight loss, according to research in the International Journal of Obesity. Often people experience a plateau when trying to lose weight, which is due to the endocrine system biologically functioning as it’s designed to.
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