What is the one thing most of us desire? A slim and lean body that is close to perfection. We are ready to go to any length to achieve this physique, even at the cost of neglecting our health by undertaking rapid weight loss techniques. Recently, that is what happened with US fitness influencer Lexi Reed, who landed in a hospital after her organs began failing, as a result of losing 141 kg in two years. She had also undergone a 9-hour surgery to remove the excess skin on her body. Lexi is currently on dialysis and cannot walk.
In an Instagram post, her husband Danny, who is also a blogger, wrote, “ A few weeks ago Lexi kept getting sick and couldn’t keep any food down. She then started acting differently, so I took her to the hospital where they admitted her into the ICU, placed her on a medically induced comma, on a ventilator, since her organs had started failing. They also told me if I had waited, it was possible that she could have died.”
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This incident shines the spotlight on how drastic weight loss can be potentially dangerous. Do we, in this obsession compromise on our health? What is a healthy amount of weight that we can lose? To answer these questions, Health Shots got in touch with Dr Ramen Goel, Consultant Bariatric Surgeon, Wockhardt Hospital, Mumbai Central.
What is the right way for weight loss?
Dr Goel says that nutrition should never be compromised in any weight loss plan. Adequate daily protein intake is essential through your diet, or there can be excess muscle mass loss which could be harmful.
“Unfortunately, most people follow unsupervised fad diets, and thus end up with deficiencies and health problems. For those looking to shed fat, weight loss of 2-3 kgs every month is a desirable target,” he adds.
1. The diet should include lentils, beans, sprouts, low-fat dairy, egg whites, and lean meats.
2. Avoid fried foods and sugar completely.
3. Have steamed vegetables or salads with low-fat dressing.
4. Hydrate yourself well.
5. Have vitamin and mineral supplements, if required.
6. Your weight loss should always be supervised by a qualified nutritionist.
Your body undergoes several changes, in case of rapid weight loss:
Most of us lose about 50-100 strands of hair each day, but in case of drastic weight loss, it could be more severe, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. That’s because of the deficiency of certain essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and protein.
You could feel terribly uncomfortable, which in turn, makes you feel irritable. This could be largely due to the severe restriction of carbs in your diet, and also because you are depriving yourself of your favourite foods, which then has a psychological impact.
Losing too much weight can cause an electrolyte imbalance in your body. In case something is off in your body, it could cause irregular heartbeat, seizures, and muscle weakness.
Drastic weight loss can make your hormones go out of whack, and impact your periods. Your body might believe it is being hormonally starved, and your menstrual cycle could get disrupted.
Dr Goel says that bariatric surgery is a safe and effective treatment for people, in case they have other underlying health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
“In such cases, surgery is advised even at lower weight. Since all operated patients are closely supervised, the weight loss after bariatric surgery is gradual and nutritional deficiencies are unheard of in such patients. People can lose 80% or more of excess weight after surgery,” he concludes.