Like most twenty-something females, when I look good–I feel good. Therefore, dieting and eating healthy have become part of my daily life. However, when I say “dieting”, what I really mean is not having that extra handful of white cheddar pop corn, or the last slice of brie in my fridge. I don’t like to diet, I never have and probably never will. Why deprive myself now only to binge later? Nope, not for me.
But lately, it seems like crash dieting has become the new “it” thing to do. I see it on facebook, pinterest and even among my close friends. Why people? I want to scream, “don’t you know what you’re doing to your body?” Crash dieting–although it may produce the results you desire at first, can be very harmful to your body and mental well being.
What is a crash diet?
According to livestrong.com, a crash diet is “a dietary regiment designed to produce rapid weight loss results.” Crash diets do work short-term. They produce results fast, which explains their growing popularity. However, the negative effects on your body far outweigh those extra five or ten pounds you’re hanging on to.
What are the negative side effects associated with crash dieting?
-Yo Yo Effect: Drastic weight loss followed by weight gain. This could include all or more of the weight previously lost. (Gross!)
-Lack of sodium and/or potassium which have key roles in our body’s nerve and muscle function.
-Iron and calcium deficiencies could also take place. Note: lack of calcium in your diet can lead to osteoporosis and bone loss.
-Serious damage to your internal organs. Think: heart, kidneys, liver, etc. Without enough energy from food intake (remember: calories=energy), our organs are forced to get energy elsewhere-usually from burning muscle tissue. Often times, from the muscle tissue that surrounds the organ itself which can lead to organ failure. Scary!
-Slower metabolism. Crash dieting throws your body into starvation mode. Although you may lose weight initially, when you go back to eating regularly with your normal caloric intake, your metabolism will still be slower. Yikes! This means it will take fewer calories to gain weight back because your metabolism won’t burn calories as quickly as it needs to.
-Dizziness/Fainting. Think about it. If you drastically cut the amount of calories you’re consuming each day–you’re likely to feel faint or dizzy due to lack of nutrient/caloric intake.
-Mood swings. Depression and irritability often occur when our blood sugar is low. The fact is, when you aren’t eating enough, you’re more prone to feelings of irritability and frustration.
-Negative attitudes toward food. Crash diets often involve severe dietary restrictions causing the dieter to obsess over food, finding unhealthy and/or extreme ways of reducing hunger. Think: chewing gum or eating ice. Crash diets limit the intake of foods your body needs to function properly and the more foods you avoid, the more food becomes your enemy.
Just because you think you look good on the outside, doesn’t mean it’s all good on the inside too. The longer you crash diet, the more fat your body is likely to hold onto and store. Findings published by the USDA show that women who perpetually diet are over 300% more likely to develop obesity later in life than those who do not. Scary! I’d rather be healthy and happy than “skinny” and at risk for all these problems. Wouldn’t you? My opinion is and always will be–weight loss is a simple math equation: calories in vs. calories out. Just eat right, exercise, splurge once in awhile and DON’T starve yourself. Moderation, as in all things, is the key.