Weight loss can be a difficult and frustrating process. Consequently, many dieters will try anything in the hope of dropping a few extra pounds, and safety often takes a back seat to the prospect of results. Weight loss should always be approached with better health in mind. For safe and effective results, avoid the dangerous mistakes.
To lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn. Many dieters take this too far and virtually starve themselves for months on end. This leads to such problems as muscle and bone loss, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, future weight gain and slowing of the metabolism. For healthy calorie restriction, the American Council on Exercise recommends eating small, frequent meals throughout the day.
Fluid restriction gives the illusion of fat loss because it will cause a short-term drop in body weight. This weight loss, however, is temporary and unsafe. Water is the most essential of all nutrients, with the majority of our body weight consisting of it. Restriction of water impairs your body’s ability to manage waste and regulate temperature. Muscles, being about 75 percent water themselves, are at higher risk of cramping and tears. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends that men consume 125 ounces of water per day and women consume 91.
Many exercisers mistakenly believe that exercising in the heat is a shortcut to weight loss. Heat certainly makes exercise more difficult, but training in extreme temperatures actually is less effective because you cannot exercise as hard or as long as you could in more comfortable temperatures. Extreme heat combined with exercise is more likely to cause dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
To speed weight loss, lots of dieters resort to intense exercise for hours at a time. Although exercise certainly is a good idea for healthy weight loss, too much can be dangerous to the joints, connective tissue and kidneys. Rhabdomyolysis is a condition in which broken-down muscle tissue is released into the bloodstream, causing harm to the kidneys. This muscle breakdown is a possible side effect of too much intense exercise. Excessive running is particularly damaging to lower body joints and can lead to chronic injury. For most novices, 60 to 90 minutes of exercise, four times per week, is enough to achieve any weight-loss goal.
About this Author
Based in the Greater New York area, David Kirschen is a 15-year veteran of the fitness industry. He is co-author of “The Business and Practice of Personal Training” and has lectured to countless fitness professionals. Kirschen holds a degree in physical education from SUNY Cortland.