An in-depth guide to weight loss: Essential tips and common pitfalls

Knowledge about healthy ways to reduce weight will empower you to make informed decisions in your weight loss journey.

ByDr Satish N

Published Jan 25, 2024 | 10:00 AMUpdatedJan 25, 2024 | 2:01 PM

A doctor's guide to weight loss. (Commons)

Weight loss journey is a challenge that requires long-term dedication. The best way to succeed is by developing a progressive weight loss pattern by incorporating lifestyle modification rather than opting for quick results with short-term methods.

Knowledge about healthy ways to reduce weight, optimal weight reduction, efficient weight-loss plans, disadvantages of rapid weight loss, and avoiding regaining the lost weight will empower you to make informed decisions in your journey to losing weight and help you achieve sustainable weight reduction.

1. How should a weight loss pattern be?

A successful weight loss pattern involves incorporating small, sustainable changes into your lifestyle.

Focus on:

  • Healthy eating: Prioritise whole foods, vegetables, and fruits, and limit processed foods. Ensure a well-balanced diet with reduced saturated fats, salt, and sugar.
  • Regular exercise: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly. Activities like brisk walking or jogging can significantly contribute to weight reduction.
  • Adequate sleep: Quality sleep for 7-9 hours per night is crucial for overall well-being and can support your efforts.
  • Stress management: Practice effective stress-reducing activities such as meditation, engaging in hobbies, or taking relaxing walks.
  • Regular check-ups: Stay proactive with health check-ups and screenings to monitor your progress and catch any health issues early.

Also Read: Plant-based low-carb diet better for long-term weight management?

2. How many kilograms can one lose in a month?

Ideally, a weight loss of 1.8 to 3.6 kg per month is recommended, clinically. Any rapid weight reduction beyond the clinically recommended weight (losing more than 4-5 kg monthly) is not advisable as it may negatively impact metabolism, unhealthy muscle loss, and an increased risk of rebound weight regain.

3. Why is it not healthy to have quick and fast weight loss?

Quick and fast weight reduction, often achieved through crash diets or extreme methods, can be detrimental to health. This approach may lead to:

  • Metabolic shifts: Rapid weight reduction can trigger a shift to a lower metabolism, making it harder to sustain weight loss in the long term.
  • Muscle loss: Severe calorie restriction can result in muscle breakdown, affecting strength, athletic performance, and metabolism.
  • Binge eating: Extreme dieting may lead to binge eating as the body reacts to the perceived threat of starvation.

4. How does rapid weight loss impact the health of a person?

Rapid weight reduction can have several negative impacts on health, including:

  • Metabolism changes: Quick weight reduction can cause metabolic shifts, making it difficult to maintain the achieved loss.
  • Hair loss: Rapid weight loss may contribute to hair loss, a common side effect of nutritional deficiencies.
  • Weak immunity: The body’s immunity may be compromised due to rapid weight reduction, making individuals more susceptible to illnesses.

5. Can losing weight quickly also lead to a quick regain?

Yes. Rapid weight loss often involves extreme diets or methods that are challenging to sustain. As a result, individuals may experience quick weight regain once they return to regular eating patterns. Slow and steady weight reduction tends to be more sustainable in the long run.

Also Read: Intermittent fasting: Is it good for weight loss or just another fad?

6. How can one maintain the lost weight?

Maintaining lost weight requires a combination of strategies:

  • Gradual reintroduction: Add about 200 calories of healthy, low-fat food weekly until the right balance is achieved.
  • Behavioural strategies: Be mindful of stress-induced eating, opting for exercise or meditation instead.
  • Consistency: Stick to balanced meals, control portions, and monitor weight regularly.
  • Mindful choices: Identify triggers for overeating and manage them effectively.

In summary, attaining and sustaining weight loss is a complex process. It goes beyond drastic methods and fast remedies. A healthy diet, frequent exercise, enough sleep, stress reduction, and routine health checks, can help people create a sustainable weight loss habit and improve their general health and physical well-being.

It is best to avoid rapid weight loss due to possible detrimental effects on muscle mass, metabolism, and long-term weight maintenance. Therefore, the secret to long-term success in the journey toward a healthier and happier life is a steady and balanced approach coupled with thoughtful choices and behavioural techniques.

(The author is a Senior Consultant in the Department of Bariatric Surgery & General Surgery, Manipal Hospital, Yeshwanthpur.)