PT eDigest

Modern society puts an enormous amount of pressure on people to keep their weight down. The impetus to lose weight can be almost unbearable, and the promise of losing weight quickly seems too good to be true.

Rapid weight loss can be a risky proposition. No matter what the advertisers tell you, rapid weight loss tends to be both dangerous and unsustainable.

Weight loss is best when it is accomplished slowly and steadily. A loss of one to two pounds a week is usually recommended. This might sound low, but it is a safe and sustainable rate. Shedding weight this way helps to ensure that the weight loss comes from fat. Faster loss can burn off muscular tissue, which is dangerous and undesirable.

Other side effects of too-rapid weight loss can include dehydration, gallstones, fatigue, dizziness, irritability, hair loss and menstrual irregularities. These risk factors become even greater when you follow a low-protein diet. Many methods of rapid weight loss can also contain their own specific risks. Diet pills have a long history of negative side effects. For example, ephedra, a popular ingredient in diet pills, was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a dietary supplement after it was linked with strokes and heart attacks. Crash diets may work in the short term, but the side effects make these approaches unsustainable and dangerous over time. Most people who go on crash diets end up putting the weight back on afterward.

Weight loss, like physical therapy, requires time, discipline and long-term changes in behavior. You achieve it simply by burning more calories than you take in. Losing one to two pounds a week typically requires you to reduce your calorie intake by about 500 calories a day—a small but sustainable reduction. By making such easily maintained changes, you can keep your weight down.

When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady really does win the race. For help with your program, we can design a series of exercises that will maintain the weight loss and ensure muscle retention and growth as your body becomes lighter.

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