Can You Lose a Pound a Day?

We know that people are trying to lose weight for shorts and swimsuit weather in the run-up to the summer. In addition to having health concerns, people are thinking about body image as well. When it comes to wanting to look a certain way, we often stop thinking about healthy weight loss and just prioritize weight loss in general. That might make you turn toward diets that promise you can lose a pound a day. But, do they work and are they healthy?

Science says it might be possible if you have a very high body weight to begin with. To lose a pound a day, you need to dramatically increase your exercise and decrease your calories. That’s much easier to do if you start off with a low baseline for exercise and a high caloric intake. However, any doctor or nutritionist would tell you to not rush into this plan because it’s obviously a crash diet. Even if you lose weight, the probability of keeping it off is slim, and the possibility of harming yourself is high.   

When you cut your food intake dramatically, you can potentially lose a lot of nutrients. If you usually follow a healthy diet and then start cutting things out, what are you losing in addition to calories? If you decide to do this, you should speak to your doctor to maintain a balanced diet and add a multivitamin to your day to be sure you aren’t missing out on the proper nutrients you need.

There is also the question of what you’re losing. Some people claim to have seen results following these crash diets that are all over the internet. But, if they are doing so at such a rapid rate, what are they losing? Fat is harder to burn than muscle and, water weight is the easiest thing of all. Many people lose weight at the beginning of a diet in the form of water from their tissue.  

Some versions of the diet make it very obvious that they are fad diets by having odd rules. You have to take shots of grape juice before meals and drink only non-chlorinated water. They claim you can eat whatever you like and say fried foods are still on the menu. Then they say that you can eat one slice of Swiss cheese mid-morning and raw vegetables for lunch while measuring your dinner to the gram. That isn’t a healthy way to lose weight. Unless there is a medical reason why your doctor is telling you to measure your food, you should think long and hard before trying one of these plans.

Trying to lose a pound a day can have serious side effects. As well as suffering the immediate problems of having nutritional deficiencies and dehydration, you can cause yourself long-term harm. Rapid weight loss can slow your metabolism, damage bone health and cause gallstones. It can also lead to hair loss, muscle loss, dizziness, constipation and irritability. That’s not the way to start off your summer.

Losing a pound a day sounds wonderful. But, it is also not realistic and unhealthy to try. Instead, focus on your long-term goals and eating right. Having a healthy diet and exercise routine can help you reach your target. The beautiful weather can help you get outside more. Looking good is never as important as feeling good and being healthy; focus on your health and having fun outdoors. The rest will follow!   

Banner image: Ronit Shaked via Unsplash
May 19, 2021
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