The 19th-century German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach said, “You are what you eat.”
Most of the world’s leading dieticians hold the belief that there is no such thing as good or bad food, it is just good or bad diets. We only need to eat better and smarter. Crash dieting sounds tempting and dramatic, and yes it can be, but not in a positive way to say the least. It may sound like a quick, easy ‘fix’ to your weight-related woes but whether it has sustainable results or it is indeed detrimental to your health in the long term is an altogether different question.
Before you crash into the juice diet, the 7-day detox diet, the military diet, or the infamous keto diet that promises you unprecedented and magical results, it is very important to understand what happens to your body when you undertake these regimes.
What Is a Crash Diet?
It is essentially a weight loss diet that people undertake on a short term basis to achieve rapid weight loss results. The aim is achieved by leaving out some, most, or all major food groups. When we reread the preceding line, we can begin to see how unnatural it is to do that to our body in the first place.
Why Do People Crash Diet?
Most of the time, a crash diet is unfortunately prompted by low self-esteem and negative body image we hold of ourselves. The low body confidence is a problem in itself. In today’s world where how the world looks at us matters more than how we really are and how we feel, we deny what our body really needs. We forget to treat ourselves gently and our focus is not on ourselves but on meeting some unrealistic expectations. Moreover, these are not our expectations but the worlds. We start undertaking an extreme diet that expects us to slash our calories right from the start and not gradually, often to below our BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), the number of calories required to keep our body functioning at rest, also known as our metabolism. Lured by the short-lived results, we embark on consuming fewer calories than what we need to survive. When we look at it this way, it is not tough to see the red flags that can ultimately have a negative impact on our body and mind. It is very important to take note of how adversely it may affect our body in the long run. We must remember that this is a drastic approach to weight loss and anything drastic is not natural. Forcing and pushing our body to such an edge is definitely not a good idea. You won’t want to have a rebound effect that leaves you utterly clueless about how to get back on track.
How Crash Diet Works?
Crash diet drastically reduces your calories from the very start. This dramatic calorie reduction plan is based on outsmarting your body. But then your body starts outsmarting you in turn, in other words the body adapts and starts using less energy, and hence metabolism rate goes down significantly.
Let’s Have a Look at Various Stages of Your Body on a Crash Diet:
1. Half a day of the first day– The body tries really hard to adjust to this newfound dearth of energising food and starts pushing itself in the starvation mode. It starts depending on the stored energy (glycogen).
2. After a day-As, you reduce your energy intake drastically, and it instigates the cortisol levels to new rises. The body starts holding onto more water and resultantly you feel you’re leaner than you actually are. Moreover,there is a decrease in non-exercise activity thermogenesis. The wonderful human body tries its best to keep the temperature stable and you get shivers and coldness as response.
3. After two days– By this time, the stored glycogen gets mostly exhausted and body starts reducing the metabolism so that it may preserve the energy. This survival instinct of the body makes it sluggish and amazing at storing fat.
4. After three days– At this stage, the drastically slowed down metabolism makes the burning of calories really difficult for the body. Furthermore, the body is strongly inclined towards storing fat, lean tissues, mostly muscles start burning off. This is like setting your thyroid level and adrenaline secretion to upheaval and very sadly this makes you emotionally and physically drained.
5. After one week– All the weight loss you achieve by this time is majorly loss of lean muscle. The crash diet makes you miss out on vital nutrients such as B12, protein, and iron. To put it more straightforwardly, your immune system, mental acumen, and overall health is highly compromised. You start feeling yourself fatigued, and deeply obsessed with the food cravings all day long. You are not physically capable of stopping your cravings. You are most likely to fall into binge-eating.
6. After a month– By the time you are here, you simply can’t control your appetite-stimulating hormones like ghrelin, neuropeptide Y. Now is the perfect time to be constantly in just two moods- the angry/bad one and the hungry one. You are most likely to give in to your body’s dire need for energy and you will eat almost anything and everything. Your body just can’t be put off.
What Happens When You Stop Crash -Dieting?
It’s all or nothing for your body now. You’ve trained your body for it. The nothing phase is over so you are in the “eat all” phase now. The body in its quest to replenish the energy reserves and having lost mostly all of the lean muscles is no more than a “fast-absorbing machine” now. The worst begins to follow, you have now a very slow metabolism, and the body finds it really difficult to burn the calories and leads to a massive weight gain, the unhealthy kind that you might have had nightmares about. The body wasn’t treated kindly and in turn, you have a weak immune system now, drastically affected thyroid level, and at a greater risk of dehydration. It might cause heart palpitations and even cardiac arrest. The shrinking and growing might damage your blood vessels and that leads to an increase the risk of atherosclerosis and other types of heart disease. I am sure if we know the way crash diets affect our body we should be in a good position to decide for ourselves. It’s very important for us to understand that the aim of this article is not to alarm you. If someone is really overweight, slimming down is essential for him or her because that would decrease the risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. The key is combining diet with exercise and to not go with just one. Try to stick to vegetables, fruits, lean meat, fish and don’t do drastic things to your body. Do try to lose weight gradually. Slow and steady definitely wins the race.