Obesity is a 21st-century disease, and there are statistically more obese people than ever before. The main cause appears to be directly linked to the lifestyles we lead today. People spending a lot of time very sedentary and surrounded by hugely accessible, hyperpalatable and hedonic foods. Luckily, a lot of people are starting to realise and accept the potential health issues that obesity can cause, along with the negative implications on their quality of life. Many people looking to lose weight are still taking extreme steps to lose weight, often driven by a cosmetic desire. Simply put, they hunt for shortcuts that let them lose weight quickly, but ultimately come with their own negative set of physical and mental implications.

What exactly is extreme weight loss?

Extreme weight loss is a rapid loss of scale weight, often accomplished through any means of moving that overly simplified number, faster. When a person is losing more than 1 kg on average per week, it falls under the classification of ‘extreme weight loss. Sadly, there are lots of people losing weight even faster than this, and the more drastic the results, the higher the negative implications become. Weight loss doesn’t just involve losing fat. Various chemical processes are affected, including the all important balance of vitamins and minerals. The problem being, that people who start losing weight this way focus only on the cosmetic aspect of it and have little to no regard for the health implications. In some cases, health can be compromised even more during these extreme practices than with being overweight.

Methods commonly used in extreme weight loss.

There are three common ways used or a combination of all three:

Starvation diets

People want to lose weight so badly that they are often willing to starve themselves. With the explosion of the internet, everyone is claiming that they know the perfect diet for losing weight quickly. There are new dieting trends each year and each focus on achieving extreme caloric deficits. Each new one being more magical than the last, but in reality, most of these diets simply use novel ways to do the same thing. They aren’t nutritious in any way and simply rely on a deep caloric deficit. What’s even worse is that a lot of people add extreme exercise to the mix.

Diet pills

Diet pills are yet another magical promise that lets users cut weight quickly with “no side effects”. These pills combine various supplements to control or drop weight. Some of them directly affect metabolic processes and impact fluid and hydration levels. Things have gotten so bad that some “diet pills” are just a combination of laxatives and diuretics. On the other hand, some diet pills affect the metabolism and suppress appetite. This, again, leads to starvation and people missing valuable nutrients their bodies need for everyday processes.


You might think that exercise can’t be bad, but when you do anything excessively, it becomes counterproductive. Simply put, many people start exercising to lose weight, but they want to get the results as quickly as possible. That leads to them becoming obsessed with exercising. Some people will go out running, swimming, and exercising in the gym multiple times per day. They put a huge strain on their body, and to make things even worse, they combine this with overly restrictive and nutritionally deficient diets.  

Consequences of rapid weight loss

As you might have grasped excessive and rapid weight loss isn’t healthy. Sure, you’ll cut scale ‘weight’ quickly, but you won’t be able to keep it off as without exception each and every method is centered around non-sustainable activities or methods. Here are a few things that have been documented to accompany rapid weight loss.
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Hair loss
  • Irregular or complete loss of menstrual cycle
  • Infertility
  • Extreme dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Malnutrition and all the complications that go with it
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of Libido
  • Headaches
  • Gallstones
  • Poor mental performance
  • Lack of focus
Anyone looking to live on form, be present and be able to perform at a high level in any facet of life would be best served to look to sustainable, logical approaches to weight loss.

Is rapid weight loss ever safe?

Excessive weight loss is only good in a single scenario. Simply put, people who are extremely overweight with a large mortality risk are the only real candidates for rapid weight loss. In most cases, this is to create a safe environment in which medical procedures can intervene. No professional dietician or nutritionist would ever recommend doing this unless you fall under those categories. If you are looking to lose weight, seek advice carefully, look for qualified advice from relevant professionals in the field of nutrition.

Closing comments

Losing weight is a gradual process that takes time and effort. It often requires the opposing approach to that which caused the weight gain. It needs someone to seek less in the way of immediate gratification, it needs careful and intelligent analysis of current habits and behaviours and changes that accommodate an individual's lifestyle. When done correctly, weight won’t bounce back once you’ve stopped dieting, as you’ll have built positive habits that reinforce gratification and pleasure in different ways.