Okay, so we all want to click our heels together and instantly become a lean, mean weight-loss machine. Sorry Dorothy, but we're not in Oz anymore -- instant weight loss is often not only a frustrating dream, but it can also be a health-wrecking endeavor, according to some experts.
Dr. Donald Hensrud, preventative medical specialist at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, says, "The concern with fast weight loss is that it usually takes extraordinary efforts in diet and exercise - efforts that often aren't sustainable over the long term."
However, Dr. Hensrud admits there are occasions when a doctor will prescribe a weight loss regimen that will lead to fast weight loss.
"In some situations, faster weight loss can be safe if it's done the right way," he notes.
"For example, doctors prescribe very low calorie diets for more rapid weight loss in obese individuals. This type of diet requires medical supervision."
The truth seems to be that there may be nothing wrong with losing weight fast... not as long as you do it the right way. And that means no dangerous pills, cleanses or herbal cocktails.
In fact, recent studies appeared to show that rapid weight loss is good for a body. Of course, for every report that says that there is a dozen that warn us that the best way to lose weight is slowly and safely.
But there's always those proponents of losing weight quickly.
"In theory, one could drop as much as 20 pounds in a week following a very ambitious eating and exercise plan, devoting more than seven hours per week to rigorous exercise, and under a physician's care like we do on the television program," says Dr. Michael Dansinger, who's worked with contestants on The Biggest Loser.
Losing weight boils down to a basic math formula: You need to burn more calories than you eat. You can boost your body's calorie-burning furnace by adding exercise to your diet equation.
According to WebMD.com, "Experts generally recommend creating a deficit of 500 calories per day through a combination of eating fewer calories and increasing physical activity. Over the course of a week, this should yield a loss of about 1-2 pounds of fat.
"If you want to lose weight faster, you'll need to eat less and exercise more. Bottom line: 1,050 to 1,200 calories and one hour of exercise a day (but be sure not to dip below this calorie level for safety's sake)."
Still, some experts warn against fast weight loss. They say it's not only bad for your body but it is often short-term.
"A rate of weight loss that's too fast for a lean person might be perfectly appropriate for someone who's obese," says Men's Health Weight Loss Coach Alan Aragon, M.S.
When it gets dangerous is when your body starts burning up muscle after the fat stores are spent.
"This isn't 'dangerous' as in life threatening, but it's not good for your overall health," Aragon says. "Losing muscle reduces your ability to burn calories and regulate your blood sugar, and it makes you weaker."
We recommend you check with a doctor before trying to lose weight quickly.
I lost 7 pounds my first week of my Diet-to-Go low-fat meal program. But the speed of weight loss has since dropped to a normal, healthy 1-2 pounds a week.
In the past, I have been able to drop a lot of weight quickly through fasts and fad diets, but the pounds always seemed to pile back on very quickly.
Tell us what you think about quick weight loss -- is it good or bad and have you done it and kept off the weight?
Author: John McGran