Last Updated on January 16, 2021 by Lori Geurin
Is it bad to lose weight too quickly? And just because we can lose weight fast, does it mean that we should? Find out what extreme weight loss can do to your metabolism.
Though most experts recommend gradual weight loss, advertisers continually profit from our society’s desire to get thin quickly. Promises of dropping “10 pounds in 10 days” are the norm. But dropping weight too quickly can pose health risks. Listed below are a few ways that rapid weight loss can harm your health.
- nutritional deficiencies
- muscle loss
- constant hunger
- mental health concerns
- slowed metabolism
In this article, we’ll investigate what crash diets do to the metabolism…using what we’ve learned from The Biggest Loser. And I’ll give you 5 ways to boost your metabolism naturally.
Metabolism is highly-individualized and can change throughout your lifetime. Mine has shifted several times based on hormones, pregnancies, fasting, weight loss, chronic illness, muscle gain and loss, and more.
Want to boost your weight loss? Grab our FREE guide to skyrocket your weight loss and boost your health by clicking the button below.
Effects Of Extreme Weight Loss On Metabolism
A recent study published in the medical journal, Obesity, measured the effects of extreme weight loss on the basal metabolic rate (BMR), resting metabolic rate (RMR), and body composition of 14 former contestants from The Biggest Loser.
The study focused on where the contestants were six years after losing all the weight. Four of them now weigh more than when they were on the show, and all but one of the contestants have gained a significant amount of the weight back.
One contestant, Danny Cahill, lost an astounding 239 pounds in seven months. (I didn’t even know this was humanly possible!) But in the years since his extreme weight loss, he gained more than 100 pounds back.
When a person loses an extreme amount of weight it’s normal for their metabolic rate to slow down because one who weighs less requires fewer calories to maintain the same weight than someone who weighs more.
Makes sense, right?
Normally we’d expect the body to adjust to the weight loss and the metabolism to adjust to the new weight. But that’s not what happened with most of the former contestants in the study.
The researchers found that even after the contestants gained a significant amount of weight back, their metabolic rate continued to slow. It was lower than other people who weighed the same.
It was as if their bodies were doing everything possible to prevent them from losing more weight, or even maintain their new weight.
What Do We Know About Metabolism?
Our metabolism includes all the processes our body goes through to convert the food we eat (calories) to energy our bodies can use.
You may have heard that each of us has a magic weight, or a set point. This is the weight our body wants to stay at. It’s comfortable and easy for our body to stay at this weight, but it can make weight loss difficult past this point.
When we lose weight our BMR slows down. It reduces the amount of calories we burn when we’re at rest. (2) Some of the former Biggest Loser contestants had a BMR much lower than would be expected of someone who had the same body composition and weight.
This is also why we hear yo-yo dieting isn’t good. Each time we gain and lose (and gain and lose) weight it impacts our metabolic rate and body composition.
The Biggest Loser contestants lost an incredible amount of weight. Many of us gain and lose only ten or fifteen pounds at a time, but even so, it can change our BMR. And doing this repeatedly can make it more difficult to lose weight the next time.
Despite these findings, there’s hope for anyone wanting to lose weight. In fact, there are several things you can do to speed up your metabolism and boost your weight loss results.
5 WAYS TO BOOST YOUR METABOLISM NATURALLY
1. Strength Train
The more muscle you have the more calories you burn.
In addition to lifting weights or using resistance bands, there are so many bodyweight workouts you can do that will help build lean muscle mass. There are many free workouts available online, like these free YouTube bodyweight ones.
I have a couple of fitness apps on my phone that I love. Most don’t require any equipment and are free. Currently I’m using:
- Seven – This one is based on the 7-Minute Workout concept. It works all the major muscle groups and only takes 7 minutes to complete.
- 30 Day Push Up Challenge – Push-ups are great for building and toning muscles in the arms (obviously), core and back.
- 5 Minute Planks – Call me crazy, but I love planks! There, I said it. They’re great for building muscle tone in the abs, back, and the entire body.
- SWORKIT – One of my favorites! This allows you to choose between strength training, yoga, stretching, or cardio workouts. You can also specify how long you want the workout to last.
I tend to use an app for a while, get bored with it, then try another one. Do what works for you!
Keep in mind that your body needs plenty of high-quality protein to build muscle. You might like to try My Favorite Peanut Butter Protein Shake for a delicious boost of energy.
2. Eat Whole Foods (And Stay Away From Processed Junk)
Consuming processed foods like prepackaged snack foods, artificial sweeteners (or artificial anything) can slow your metabolism and mess with your thyroid and hormones. The body treats them like toxins, so it’s crucial to limit them as much as possible.
Focus on eating a diet rich in whole foods such as
- grass-fed beef
- fresh fruits
- leafy green vegetables
- healthy fats
- nuts and seeds
These foods have all the building blocks our bodies need to support a strong metabolism.
3. Get Plenty Of Sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep your metabolism slows down to save energy. (3)
And when you’re body is sleep-deprived it isn’t able to regulate your blood sugar as effectively either. This can lead to hunger pains and increase your cravings for food.
Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to keep your metabolic furnace burning.
4. Drink Green Tea
Green tea, oolong tea, and coffee have all been shown to increase metabolism.
These teas convert stored fat into free fatty acids, upping your fat-burning potential by a whopping 10 to 17%. Plus, they’re full of antioxidants and taste refreshing and delicious!
5. Drink Ice Water
Okay, we all know we should be drinking lots of water to stay healthy. But did you know that drinking cold water can speed up your metabolism?
Your body uses caloric energy to heat up icy cold water. This cool process is called thermogenesis. N-ice.
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Summary – Extreme Weight Loss And Metabolism
As you can see, going on extreme crash diets can be really hard on your metabolism. Losing weight too fast isn’t usually sustainable. Plus, it can cause unwanted symptoms like dehydration, muscle loss, nutritional deficiencies, and feeling hungry all the time.
Understanding the impact rapid weight loss had on The Biggest Loser contestants can help us make a better weight loss plan that works over the long haul…not just the short term.
There are several strategies for speeding up your metabolism including strength training, eating whole foods, drinking green tea and ice water, and making quality sleep a priority.
Focusing on your wellness – and not trying to lose weight too fast – will help you maintain your health and weight loss long-term.
If you liked this article, you’ll wanna check out:
- Tips To Lose Weight Faster: 18 Proven Strategies
- Ultimate Guide To Setting Achievable Weight Loss Goals
- Intermittent Fasting: The Effortless Way To Lose Weight
Thoughts about The Biggest Loser Study? Have you noticed your metabolism changing? Share your thoughts below.
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