Rapid Weight Loss: Don’t Sacrifice Long-Term Health for Short-Term Looks

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Written by: Erin Coleman,

B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

rapid weight loss

Considering a rapid weight loss plan? In reality, losing a lot of weight quickly isn't as appealing as it may seem.

You often hear about Hollywood miracle diets, such as Kim Kardashian's 2022 Met Gala Diet or other diets designed to help you drop weight quickly.

Many women want to lose weight fast for an event, the summer season, or other reasons.

However, the risks and long-term consequences of rapid weight loss often outweigh any short-term benefits.

That's why knowing how to build a sustainable, effective weight loss plan for women is a must!

These 10 fat loss tips will teach you how to reduce body fat naturally and safely!

What is Rapid Weight Loss?

Rapid weight loss is subjective, but generally speaking, it occurs when you lose 3-5 pounds (or more) per week.

When medically supervised, rapid weight loss could offer benefits if you're at a high risk of obesity-related medical problems.

However, for many women, rapid weight loss may cause more harm than good.

Avoid consuming 800 or fewer calories per day unless your doctor supervises you.

Very low-calorie diets can cause negative side effects and sometimes health problems.

The main medical use for rapid weight loss is that it can help you quickly manage diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other medical problems.

This is beneficial if you're at a high risk of a heart attack, stroke, or other life-threatening complications.

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What Are the Drawbacks of Rapid Weight Loss?

Many times, the drawbacks of rapid weight loss outweigh any potential benefits.

Some of the risks associated with fast weight loss include:

Electrolyte Imbalance

Electrolyte imbalance, or imbalances of calcium, sodium, potassium, or other electrolytes, can be dangerous and cause troubling side effects.

When your body loses large amounts of water, which might occur during rapid weight loss, you run the risk of electrolyte imbalance.

The symptoms that can result include cramps, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, and confusion.

Gallstones

Gallstones are common symptoms of rapid weight loss when you lose more than 2 pounds per week.

While you might not have any symptoms of gallstones, they sometimes cause pain in your abdomen, cramping, fever, vomiting, nausea, or yellowing of your skin (jaundice).

Blocked gallstones can cause an infection or swelling of your gallbladder, pancreas, or other nearby organs.

Gout

Gout is another painful condition you're at risk of because of rapid weight loss.

It's a type of arthritis that usually affects your big toe joint, caused when uric acid builds up in your bloodstream.

Symptoms of gout include intense joint pain, redness, swelling, stiffness, lingering discomfort, inflammation, and limited range of motion in the affected joint.

Fatigue

Eating too few calories is a common cause of fatigue, which can diminish your quality of life and make simple daily tasks feel unbearable.

Physical fatigue makes it difficult to stick with an effective workout routine and mental fatigue might negatively affect your performance at work, school, or home.

Constipation

Constipation is another side effect of rapid weight loss, especially if your diet lacks the fiber needed to keep your digestive system regular.

While sometimes dangerous, constipation is usually more of a nuisance that feels uncomfortable.

Diarrhea

Like constipation, diarrhea is another concern when undergoing rapid weight loss.

It's an unwelcome side effect that causes serious medical problems when it's ongoing.

If you have severe diarrhea or it lingers for more than a few days, see your doctor.

Nausea

Feeling nauseous isn't fun, but it can result if you eat too few calories to achieve rapid weight loss.

The good news is that you don't have to struggle with this unpleasant side effect if you choose a slower, healthier rate of weight loss.

Nutrient Deficiencies

If you only eat 800 calories or less each day to achieve rapid weight loss, it's no surprise that your risk of nutrient deficiencies goes up.

When undergoing medically supervised weight loss because of obesity-related risk factors, your doctor monitors your health and usually recommends dietary supplements to prevent such deficiencies.

Water Losses

Rapid weight loss often causes your body to use up stored carbohydrates, called glycogen.

When this occurs, so does water loss.

One thing to keep in mind during rapid weight loss is that much of the initial weight you lose during the first few days is water weight loss, not fat loss.

Increased Cortisol

Losing weight rapidly may also increase your body's cortisol levels, which can counteract any weight-loss efforts.

Cortisol is a “stress hormone,” which in excess can lead to fatigue, low libido, irritability, poor sleep, depression, high blood pressure, intestinal problems, and more.

Slower Metabolism

To compensate for rapid weight loss and being in “starvation mode,” your body's metabolism may begin to slow down.

This is counterproductive when losing weight is your goal.

So, while reducing calories is beneficial for weight loss, eating too few calories isn't your best option.

Muscle Loss

Losing weight at a slow, steady pace is the best way to minimize or prevent muscle loss that often occurs during weight loss.

Increasing your protein intake can help too.

Decreased muscle is counterproductive when you're trying to drop weight, as lean mass keeps your metabolism high and your body toned.

Reduced Bone Density

Eating too few calories also increases your risk of low bone density, as you need a certain number of calories and essential nutrients (protein, calcium, vitamin D, etc.) to maintain exceptional bone health.

Due to hormone fluctuations that often occur in women over 40, their risk of osteoporosis is already higher than their younger peers.

Maintain strong bones by eating enough calories and consuming plenty of protein and micronutrients.

Headaches

Headaches due to rapid weight loss are common because of various factors.

Headaches could result because of high cortisol levels, electrolyte imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, or other factors related to rapid weight loss.

Weight Regain

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), weight regain is more common after rapid weight loss than after a slower, healthier rate of weight loss.

If your goal is weight loss you can sustain for a lifetime, choose a slow-but-steady weight loss approach (1-2 pounds per week).

A Safer Alternative: Building a Sustainable Weight Loss Plan

Building a sustainable weight loss plan allows you to gradually reach your goal weight and maintain it for a lifetime.

A good rule of thumb is to drop about 1-2 pounds per week until you reach your desired body weight.

This could mean reducing your calories by about 500 per day, burning an additional 500 calories daily, or combining these two weight-loss methods.

The good is that you don't have to count calories to move toward an ideal weight.

Just make a few simple healthy changes to your diet, exercise, and lifestyle regimens.

Use the Perfect Plate Method

When using the Perfect Plate Method to lose weight, you don't have to count calories.

Simply fill up your plate half full of non-starchy vegetables and the other half with protein foods and fiber-rich starches.

Choose grilled chicken, seafood, fish, very lean meat, eggs, tofu, seitan, or other plant-based proteins when filling your plate with protein foods.

Examples of fiber-rich starches include peas, corn, sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, other whole grains, black beans, lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes.

Change Up Your Workouts

Doing the same workouts day after day may not get you the weight-loss results you long for.

Choose a variety of different workouts that include strength training exercises, cardiovascular workouts, flexibility training, and combinations of these.

Variation is the key to success!

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is another important component of sustainable weight loss.

Without it, you lack the energy needed to complete effective workouts or have the balanced hormones needed to curb your appetite.

Try to get at least 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night and set a regular bedtime.

Sleep in a cool dark room, go to bed at about the same time each night, and avoid smoking, alcohol, caffeine, screen time, late-night workouts, large meals, and sleeping pills before bed.

Don't go to bed hungry and seek treatment for sleep apnea if you have this common sleep disorder.

Take Dietary Supplements for Women

Taking dietary supplements for women is important for sustainable weight loss for many reasons.

Increasing your protein intake using protein supplements can help you feel full longer, reduce muscle mass loss associated with weight loss, increase your body's metabolism, and enhance fat-burning.

Taking dietary supplements can reduce fatigue caused by nutritional deficiencies and eliminate the risk of poor nutrition during weight loss.

The Fit Mother Project also offers fat-burning supplements that increase your body's metabolism.

Join the Fit Mother Project 30X (FM30X) Program

One of the best ways to achieve your goal weight in a safe, healthy way is to sign up for the Fit Mother Project 30X weight loss program designed for women of all ages — especially busy moms over 40.

The program offers motivational support, customized meal plans and workouts, health coaching from medical experts, recipes, newsletters, and more.

Instead of attempting rapid weight loss, sign up for a free meal plan and workout to get started on a sustainable weight loss program for women!

Erin Coleman
B.S. - Nutritional Science, R.D., L.D.

Writer, The Fit Mother Project

Erin Coleman is a registered and licensed dietitian with over 15 years of freelance writing experience.

She graduated with her Bachelor of Science degree in nutritional science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and completed her dietetic internship at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Prior to beginning her career in medical content writing, Erin worked as Health Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Internal Medicine.

Her published work appears on hundreds of health and fitness websites, and she’s currently working on publishing her first book! Erin is a wife, and a Mom to two beautiful children.

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If you’re a busy mom who wants to finally lose weight, get healthy, and actually keep the pounds off for good, this is the simple program you’ll love sticking to…

Our Fit Mother 30X Program (FM30X) is the answer you’ve been looking for. Inside FM30X, you’ll receive:

  • The simple & delicious Fit Mother Meal Plan with easy recipes for you and your family.
  • The metabolism-boosting Fit Mother 30X Workout (under 90 min/week) to kickstart your metabolism for fast fat burning.
  • VIP email coaching where we’ll personally walk you through the program.
Learn More About FM30X

*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on rapid weight loss.

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