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April 23, 2022

Is It Normal to Lose and Gain Weight Fast ?

It can be very tempting to want to lose or gain weight fast. However, it’s not always the best approach to weight management. This article will walk you through the dangers of losing and gaining weight fast and how you can maintain healthy body weight by making sensible lifestyle changes.

 

It is not normal to lose and gain weight fast. Excessively high or low-calorie diets can disrupt the normal functioning of a body and cause serious health-related issues such as inflammation, dehydration, malnutrition, and even heart failure. It is essential to stick to a steady weight management regime to remain healthy.

 

Who doesn’t want quick results? You may have just returned from a long vacation, having put on some pounds and want to get rid of them quickly, or you may be underweight and want to pack on some pounds immediately. In both cases, it is good to remember that just as it took you time to lose or gain weight, it’ll take you time to gain it back or lose it again.

 

Your body is an entire system. Even the smallest of changes in your routine, like what you’re eating and how you’re sleeping, can affect how it functions. Weight loss and gain are no different. When you resort to drastic measures to lose or gain weight, you put your body under stress. This can cause multiple health-related issues for you.

The Dangers of Losing Weight Fast

As a general rule of thumb, losing half a pound to two pounds a week is considered normal and sustainable by health experts. When you try to lose weight quickly, primarily through starvation techniques, you can do more harm to your body than good. Let’s look at some effects of trying to lose weight too quickly:

1.   Nutrient Deficiency

Most weight-loss diets that promise drastic results in a small amount of time cut out certain essential food groups altogether. For example, a dairy-free diet can result in calcium deficiency. Here are some side effects of nutrient deficiency:

 

  • Low energy
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Increased fatigue
  • Increased hair loss
  • Weakened bones

you may also want to read Keto Diet vs. Atkins: What Actually Is the Difference?

2.   Metabolism Slowdown

When you change your eating habits and put your body on a low calorie count, it goes into survival mode. This triggers your body to slow down its metabolism to conserve more energy. In the end, this can lead you to gain more weight rather than lose it.

3.   Dehydration

Most diets like keto will target your water weight. In the first few days, you will lose your water weight and feel like a rapid weight loss has occurred.

 

However, this can lead to losing essential water and salts from the body. The result? Dehydration. Dehydration can lead to other symptoms such as headaches, nausea, constipation, cramps, and low energy.

4.   Deteriorating Mental Health

Losing weight too quickly can have psychological consequences. Your mind may not get the time to adjust to your new body frame, which can lead to mental health issues like bulimia, anorexia, and dysmorphia.

How to Lose Weight In a Healthy Way

So what are some lifestyle changes you can make to lose weight steadily? Let’s explore three essential tips:

1.   Stay Away from Refined Carbs

The key is to cut back on refined carbs. Cutting back on foods high in sugar and refined carbs will lower your appetite levels and make you eat less. Meanwhile, eating complex carbs like whole foods with a general calorie deficit will give your gut the high fiber it needs and reduce your hunger levels.

2.   Focus on Micronutrients

Balance your plate with different food groups at each meal. Your meals should consist of:

 

  • A fat source
  • A protein source
  • Vegetables
  • A small portion of carbohydrates, like whole grains

 

Having the appropriate amount of these foods at each meal will ensure your body’s nutrient needs are met. Protein and complex carbohydrates will keep you full for longer and control your appetite.

 

If you feel like you’re feeling particularly hungry, you can add some extra leafy green vegetables on the plate. They will help fill you up without adding a ton of calories.

 

 

Food Group Quantity
Total Fat 45gm
Iron 17mg
Protein 110gm
Carbohydrates 275gm
Sodium 1000mg
Calcium 1000mg

3.   Exercise, Exercise, and Exercise

Exercise can help you speed up the process of weight loss naturally. Strength training helps you build endurance and muscle. A healthy balance between cardio and strength training throughout the week will help you lose weight and keep it off.

You should also read Sandbag Training for Fat Loss, Cardio & Muscle Mass.

The Dangers of Gaining Weight Too Fast

Just like losing weight too quickly, gaining it at a rapid pace also has its side effects. Again, our bodies are designed to accept and adapt to moderate and gradual changes. Any rapid change can send it into shock and cause irreversible health issues.

 

Here are some dangerous side effects of trying to gain weight too fast:

1.   Normal Weight Obesity

Whenever you gain weight rapidly, it’s generally in the form of body fat. Normal weight obesity is a condition that occurs when your weight is in the normal BMI range, but your body fat percentage is high – higher than 20% in men and higher than 30% in women. Excess body fat is harmful to your health even if your Body Mass Index or BMI appears to be in the normal range.

 

If you have normal weight obesity, you’re at risk of getting the same ailments as being obese. These include:

 

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • Chronic diseases

 

2.   Reduced Muscle Buildup

A realistic rate of weight gain for proper muscle buildup is about ½ pounds per week. It takes time and exercise to build muscle. Without proper exercise, about two-thirds of weight gained is usually just fat.

 

Now, building muscle doesn’t mean you’ll look like a bodybuilder. Healthy muscle mass will make your body look fitter and more toned. Not only this, it will also help build your stamina and endurance for day-to-day activities like carrying your grocery and laundry.

 

3.   Nutritional Deficiencies

You’ll be more likely to binge on certain food groups like sugar, saturated fats, and carbs to gain weight quickly. This means you will be giving up on other more nutritious food groups. Without having a proper diet, you will probably not look and feel your best.

 

This all will result in you having low energy and, often, mental health issues. If you’re trying to gain back weight loss due to a sickness or an accident, you need proper nutrition for your immune system to recover.

 

How to Gain Weight in a Healthy Manner?

If you’ve suffered from extreme weight loss or are underweight and need to gain weight, it’s best to do it steadily. Here are some essential tips to get you started:

1.   Get Proper Nutrition

To function properly, your body needs a balanced diet rich in all micronutrients, salts, minerals, and vitamins. To gain weight quickly, you may be tempted to load up on saturated fats, sugars, and carbohydrates. However, that’s not a good idea for your body’s overall health.

 

There are a few things you can add to your eating routine to ensure weight gain:

 

  • Snacks between meals
  • Nuts
  • Smoothies

 

Here is a breakdown of nutrients you should have daily for steady and healthy weight gain.

 

Food Group Quantity
Total Fat 20 -25gm
Iron 17mg
Protein 60 – 65gm
Carbohydrates 400gm
Sodium 1200gm
Calcium 600gm

 

2.   Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise will increase your appetite, but strength training can also help you gain weight and muscle. Exercise is also very beneficial for your overall physical and mental health.

3.   Eat More Often

When you’re trying to gain weight, eating three meals a day isn’t enough. You should aim to eat in smaller increments and about 5-7 times a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.   How fast can I gain weight safely?

Healthy weight gain is usually achieved at 1-2 pounds per week. Almost 2000-2500 additional calories per week are required to gain a pound of lean muscle, and 3500 calories per week are needed to achieve a pound of fat.

2.   Can you gain weight if you don’t eat?

This is extremely unlikely. You may end up losing weight as you eat fewer calories. It is essential to get proper nutrition and exercise to gain weight healthily.

3.   Is 50% carbs a day too much?

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, carbohydrates should make up 45% to 65% of your daily calorie intake. This is roughly 225 to 325 grams per day if your diet comprises 2000 calories.

Final Thoughts

Gaining and losing weight quickly can pose significant threats to your overall well-being. Our bodies respond well to change that is gradual and steady. The same stands true for weight management. The key to gaining and losing weight is to eat a nutritious and balanced diet paired with other lifestyle changes such as getting proper sleep and exercising regularly.

 

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Steve


Steve Theunissen is from New Zealand and is a qualified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist with over 30 years experience. Read more about Steve in the 'about us' page.

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