I know I like to be swim suit ready for summer, but I learned years ago that extreme dieting can be dangerous for women. Since I experienced a few health problems associated with dieting, I decided to take a healthier approach to weight loss.
Crash diets are those that involve starving yourself for several days or weeks or using “cleansing” concoctions as well as diet pills or laxatives. Not all diet products are bad for you, but be wary of crash diets that require a low caloric intake for more than three days.
Here are five negative health consequences of crash diets:
Dieting and irregular periods
Women who starve themselves can experience missed periods as well as irregular periods. Extreme exercise causes stress on your body that can also cause your period to become irregular. Your body needs proper nutrition and calories in order to function.
Diet pills and heart problems
I have tried several weight loss supplements such as the “3 Day Diet Cleanse” that never caused me any health problems, but my experience with taking phentermine diet pills was disturbing because of heart palpitations. I never tried the fen-phen diet pill, which was pulled off shelves after people started having heart valve problems. Eating disorders can lead to heart problems or heart attacks, especially if a person has anorexia and bulimia. Even disordered eating and crash dieting can strain the heart.
Dieting and slow metabolism
Ironically, women who starve themselves to lose weight slow down their metabolism in the long run. After decreasing daily caloric allowance to 1,000 for a few weeks, the metabolism slows down. When you begin eating more calories, you gain weight rapidly. Also called “weight cycling,” yo-yo dieting can take a toll on one’s self confidence. The opposite is also true. I was able to boost my metabolism with exercise. I had my resting metabolic rate tested, and was pleased to find out I had increased it to 2,174 calories burned a day at rest.
Dieting and dizziness or fainting
Very low calorie diets often lead to fainting spells, which can be dangerous especially if you are driving. Some people on extreme vegan diets have a deficiency of B12 which may cause shortness of breath or dizziness. If you don’t have enough electrolytes such as potassium, you may also feel faint. Your blood sugar may become low enough from dieting that you become dizzy.
Constipation and irritable bowel
Many detox diets such as the master cleanse or lemon juice detox diet can mess with your digestive system. I have a friend who depends on prune juice in order to relieve constipation. Taking laxatives, herbal dietary supplements for “cleansing” or excessive amounts of foods that act as laxatives can make the colon dependent. Laxative users are more prone to irritable bowl syndrome and colon cancer.
It’s tempting to want to find a short cut for fast weight loss, especially for summer, but crash diets aren’t the answer. Learn to love exercise and healthy foods and being thin will feel natural.