Weight loss isn’t always good for our health. Sometimes, we can lose weight in ways that do more harm than good. Here are 5 things that are not supposed to happen when you lose weight that should give off red flags to switch strategies.
You’ve probably heard that the safe pace to lose weight is no more than two pounds per week. But do you know why? The reason is actually pretty serious.
If you cut your food and exercise drastically enough to lose more than two pounds per week, your body stops losing only fat and starts eating away at your lean muscle mass. Here’s why that’s not a good idea.
Your lean muscle mass is your absolute metabolic powerhouse. If we’re overweight, it’s beneficial for our bodies to lose fat, but it’s very bad for our bodies to lose muscle mass. If our muscle mass drops, so does our metabolism, which means we have to eat less and less each day to maintain our weight loss.
Rapid weight loss isn’t only bad news for your overall health. It’s also a hindrance to your weight loss journey. Of course, weight loss (and the health that results) is your goal, right? But rapid weight loss has been linked with more weight gain over time. In other words, if you lose weight rapidly, you’re very likely to gain it back and more.
When bikini season is around the corner, those diet pills and crash diets can tempt even the most reasonable among us. But your future self is begging you not to take the bate. You’ll feel better and look better in the long run if you lose weight at a healthy rate.
Check in with how you feel right now. Do your arms and legs feel heavy? Are you tense anywhere? Do you feel jittery? Do you feel weak?
Eating too little or exercising too much can literally drain your body. If you’re feeling hungry or tired for extended periods, that’s a sign that your body isn’t getting the nutrition and care it needs. Weight loss is possible and sustainable when you find the balance of cutting back but not too much.
Low energy can be a sign of too few carbs and calories. Carbs are our bodies’ primary source of energy, but not all carbs are created equal. Skip simple carbs, like white bread, sugar, white rice, and pasta. Indulge in complex carbs, like sweet potatoes, beans, quinoa, sprouted bread, and cauliflower.
Hunger often indicates a lack of overall calories and daily protein. Protein helps you feel more full. It reduces your level of the hunger hormone ghrelin and boosts your levels of peptide YY, a hormone that makes you feel full. If you’re hungry, it could be a sign that you’re not eating enough overall or not eating the macronutrient—protein—that’s designed to keep us full.
Pump up your daily protein intake with plain Greek yogurt for breakfast. Add slices of chicken breast to salads. Snack on snow peas and hummus. Top your power bowl with tempeh or tuna.
Are you eating but aren’t feeling satiated at the end of your meals? This could be a sign of too little healthy fats in your diet. Add a palm full of chia seeds to your smoothies. Sprinkle hemp seeds generously on salads. Make a creamy cashew sauce to serve over chickpea pasta. Top your burrito bowl with a dollop of guac.
It’s crucial that you find your own personal calorie and macronutrient needs. I promise that you will feel your best and lose weight if you manage your macros the right way.
Exercise is a major component of a healthy lifestyle. But exercising too much without resting enough in between can lead to low levels of testosterone and high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). These hormonal changes are often associated with loss of muscle tissue, weight gain, and excess belly fat.
While cortisol is healthy for a short period of time to protect you in stressful scenarios, too much cortisol in the long-term actually creates stress in your body, leading to more inflammation and increasing your blood pressure.
It feels counter-intuitive, but if you’re exercising around the clock, feeling stressed out, and still holding onto excess body fat, you may need to exercise less. Swap out one or two of your workouts with a more soothing exercise routine.
Research also shows that significant calorie restriction increases the production of cortisol. Low blood glucose from not eating enough or going too long without eating signals the body that a famine is occurring.
This triggers the fight-or-flight response and cortisol is released throughout your body. Before you know it, you’re stress-eating your way to the bottom of the cheese curls bag (don’t let this stress you out even more—take these steps to get back on track after stress-eating).
Make sure you’re eating enough calories and the right balance of macronutrients to support your body during weight loss. You can also eat the following foods, which can help reduce stress and anxiety:
Women need more body fat than men to be healthy. While men should have 8% to 24%, women need somewhere between 21% to 35% body fat.
Sorry guys, but women have healthier fat than men. Women’s fatty tissue contains more mitochondria (those little structures in our cells that make most of the energy for the cell). What’s more, they have the potential to be more metabolically active, and so they burn more energy. In addition, insulin works better in women.
Having a healthy amount of body fat is good news for us gals. Without enough fat, our bodies cannot function properly, and our whole bodies, including our hormonal balance, our immune systems, our and neurological systems, will be affected.
A tell-tale sign that you’ve lost too much weight is a missed visit from Aunt Flo. The technical term for a stopped period is “amenorrhea,” and it’s something you shouldn’t ignore.
Excessive or sudden weight loss can cause your periods to stop. Severely restricting the amount of calories you eat stops the production of hormones needed to ovulate. If your period hasn’t come in three months, talk with your doctor. They can help you determine if your missed period is related to your weight loss and diet.
We’ve all been there. We’re out to eat with our family and instead of joining in on the laughter and conversation, we’re combing the menu for a low-calorie option and stressing about going over our limit. Next time your weight loss goals drive everything else out of your mind, remember this:
Your Dreams Go Deeper Than Your Diet
Weight loss is all about feeling your best. If you’re obsessing over your calories and missing out on a memory or moment with your family and friends, you’re probably not feeling your best. It’s really hard to get the balance right. But you can relax, not overthink your food choices, live in the moment, enjoy new places and experiences, have fun, and lose weight simultaneously.