Over-exercising and starving: Things you must avoid in your weight-loss journey

These harmful practices might give you some drastic results in weight loss journey but can cause adverse effects in the long term.
Prevent obesity
Battle obesity with the right food and exercise. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Arun Prasad Published: 3 Jul 2022, 11:45 am IST
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In the past few years, a sedentary lifestyle has become the root cause of many non-communicable diseases. So, when it comes to health and fitness, there is a noticeable jump in people trying to follow and maintain a healthy diet. And hence, due to this sudden rise in interest, several health gurus are now preaching their healthy lifestyle, and influencing people to follow their lead. However, we should all realize that over-exercising or following fad diets isn’t the way to lose weight.

The internet is filled with a variety of information. Often, it confuses people as to what is right and what’s not, in terms of losing weight in a healthy way. The so-called online facts may or may not be useful. For instance, exercising a lot on a daily basis while having a calorie deficit or practices like pasts or starvation are not gaining popularity.

Are these methods effective?

The answer is both yes and no. But do they make you fitter? Definitely not. Let’s break them down one by one:

Exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, but over exercising is not. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

1. Over-exercising

While the term is sufficient to answer, over-exercising is bad for your health. Being a beast and exhausting your muscles is not always a cool thing to do. At least, not in the long term. Doing so can harm your heart and arteries, and can cause many complications to your heart and brain.

Also, read: 5 yoga poses to perform after eating for better digestion and weight loss

Exercising for five hours a week or participating in 2-3 hours of high endurance physical activities every week is sufficient for an average adult to live a healthy lifestyle. Excessive workouts can have more risks than benefits as they can result in impaired immunity, exposing the human body to the risk of getting infections and illnesses.

In women especially, there is a risk of suffering from ‘female athlete triad’, which is characterized by loss of menstruation, osteoporosis or bone mineral loss, and eating disorders. Caused due to over-exercising and eating restrictions, this can cause major complications for any female.

2. Dieting and starvation

Dieting and the rise in the trend of following different kinds of diets have led many people to practice starvation and undernourishment. Starvation is when your calorie intake is far less than what your body actually needs. Leaving your body in a large calorie deficit is not a great solution to weight loss and makes you even weaker.

overnight weight gain
Crash dieting can give you quick, but not sustainable results. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Side effects of purposely starving yourself and not eating enough can have a direct impact on the brain and other key organs for a healthy lifestyle. Some of its side effects are:

  • Malnutrition and dehydration: These are the most common side effects that one faces while following extreme diets. Low vitamin and mineral intake can lead to lethargy, pale skin, and muscle pain.
  • Constipation: Many stomach and bowel problems are caused due to insufficient fiber and roughage intake. Starving can lead to an unhealthy and weak digestive system, which can get hard to live with for a long period of time.
  • Menstrual imbalance: Before going on a starving diet, this should be considered an important parameter to focus upon, as your menstrual cycle can be adversely affected.

To say the least, over-exercising and starvation might give you some drastic results in the beginning of your attempt to beat obesity, but in the long term, these practices can harm your health in more ways than you can imagine. For a more sustainable and healthy weight loss journey, one should take expert counselling and follow a healthy diet plan, which suits your body and needs.

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About the Author

Dr Arun Prasad, senior consultant, GI, bariatric and robotic surgery, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals ...Read More

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