A 70-gram packet of savoury Maggi noodles for breakfast, followed by a burger of my choice for lunch, one stuffed samosa for the evening, and finally chicken biryani to end the day. This diet was a dream come true for me simply because I no longer had to resist my favourite foods and more so, because I was approaching my weight-loss goals at the speed of light—almost dropping 3-5 kilos a week!
At one point, it all seemed like a dream too good to be true, but the fact that this diet was prescribed by a reputed Delhi-based dietician made it more convenient to push all my fears aside. Plus, he was literally digging a hole in my pocket and aren’t all expensive things meant to be trusted blindly?
Blame it on my reminiscence of those slim-waistline days when this monster of a dietician seemed nothing short of a saint/angel in disguise or just my sheer decency, I shall keep his identity concealed throughout my article. However, as much as I remember living my dream of easily fitting into skimpy dresses, I also remember what it took from me in return and how this dream was shattered eventually.
First, let’s talk about the weight-loss actually happening
There is no denying the fact that the weighing scale supported the dietician’s claim and I slimmed down. Perhaps, it is absolutely possible to lose weight while eating junk food. But how, dude, how?
Ritika Samaddar, dietician and nutritionist at Max Healthcare, Saket, Delhi explains that the basic principle behind the success of this diet was that it put me in a calorie deficit without making me compromise on my junk food preferences.
Basically, when you consume lesser calories than your body expends on maintaining its functions, its weight, and to perform other physical activities, you enter into a calorie-deficit mode.
According to a journal published in the PubMed Central, being in a calorie deficit can make you lose weight. However, Samaddar warned, “Weight loss isn’t the same as fat loss. When you don’t provide your body with sufficient nutrients in a bid to cut down calories, your body starts attacking the muscle to get those missing nutrients. As a result, your weight drops due to breakdown of the muscles. But in reality, you’re only losing your healthy muscle mass and not the unhealthy excessive fat.”
Next up, the implications of the junk-food diet I had to deal with
Extreme fatigue, hair thinning and hair fall, brittle nails, and scaly, patchy skin—this is how my body responded to this diet on the outside.
Dr. Rachna Sethi, a renowned Delhi-based consulting dietician, and nutritionist cited deficiencies of micronutrients due to the junk food diet as the reason. “Junk food is mostly rich in fats and sugars, which means you’re missing out on proteins, some important vitamins, and minerals like zinc and iron,” she explained.
This is exactly why I experienced muscular cramps often during this time. Not to mention, the number of times I fell sick during the two months of following this diet. Obviously my immunity also took the hit for the lack of essential nutrients.
Thank God! My constant fatigue, cramping, and mom’s nagging made me give up this idea, otherwise, I could have developed some serious health conditions like fatty liver, diabetes, and cholesterol to name a few according to Samaddar.
Any future weight loss was compromised too!
Let me break it down for you: You can buy a fancy dress for a few hundred bucks from a place like Sarojini Nagar or you can buy one from a brand for a few thousand bucks. The dress is going to solve your purpose of wearing something nice on a particular occasion, but there will be a massive difference in the quality. While the local one might not sustain after 3-4 washes, the branded one might last for years.
Before you accuse me of being fashion-obsessed, the point I am trying to make here is that fad diets like these might solve your purpose of losing weight. However, once you get frustrated of eating a particular type of food and bearing the health consequences as mentioned above, you will stop. And when you do, the weight will bounce back.
Correction: Double amount of weight will bounce back.
“Taking a balanced diet is what can help you in the long run as it is sustainable,” said Samaddar.
“Incorporating healthy foods like fruits, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and seeds and eating small meals at regular intervals can take care of the nutrition your body needs. It can also keep you energetic all day and does not cause major highs and lows in your blood sugar levels, lowering risks of major health implications,” she added.
Yes, this might not result in a quick weight loss. But you know what?
Losing weight at a healthy pace, approximately 0.5-1 kgs in a week, will increase your chance of maintaining your weight loss in the long run as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So, you really don’t want to cut too many calories or exercise excessively. It is better to lose weight gradually over time. Get started and be patient, okay?