Trying to lose half of her body weight, a 21-year-old social media influencer from China recently lost her life. Chihua who weighed 156 kg, wanted to inspire her followers to shed weight.Her goal was to lose at least 100 kg in a month. She took part in an intensive weight-loss boot camp in northwestern China. She would live stream her workout session daily, until she found herself so overexerted that she gave up on life. Her tragic death sparked a social media furore as users blamed the unnerving social pressure on a person to look a certain way. Closer home, 21-year-old Chennai-based man died after taking weight reduction tablets in January this year. In yet another case, a 27-year-old actor from Kolkata, Mishti Mukherjee’s died due multiple organ failure in 2020. It turned out that she was on a strict to keto diet.
These cases highlight how drastic and extreme weight loss attempts can snuff out a person’s life. While maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for one’s well-being, resorting to short cuts can sometimes backfire and take your life, say experts. Here’s how to set realistic goals to lose weight the healthy way:
Never take short cuts
There can be no short cuts when it comes to our health and well-being. Human bodies simply cannot tolerate extreme measures. If we deprive ourselves of the basic energy and nutrients our bodies need, our body strongly responds in a negative way. There are only two ways to lose weight at a rocket speed: over-starvation or overexertion. These are not sustainable or healthy methods. A guided and gradual approach to weight loss is crucial. Our bodies require a certain type of food and energy to function properly, and we must be mindful of this when embarking on a weight loss journey.
What extreme weight loss does to you
Drastic weight loss is catastrophic to the human body. Extreme amount of dieting and physical activity puts stress on the heart, liver and the kidney systems, and metabolic distress take place. It is crucial to focus on a sustainable weight loss, which means it should be not more than 2 per cent of your total body weight per month. It is also crucial to also look at the weight loss in fat percentage because a lot of times people do very aggressive diet and training and they end up losing more muscle than fat. Lack of protein via muscle puts a burden on your liver and kidney. Depriving your body of essential nutrients leads to deficiencies in micronutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B, and vitamin E, which are crucial for protecting vital organs such as the heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys.
Tread with caution
1. It is important to keep your expectations real. A healthy rate of weight loss is typically around 0.5-1 kg per week, with a maximum of 1.5 kg.
2. Do not rely on social media influencers or individuals without proper qualifications for nutritional guidance. While some influencers may have personal weight loss experiences, it doesn’t necessarily make them qualified to provide individualized diet plans for others.
3. Fad diet trends often circulate on social media, but what works for one person may not work for another due to differences in body types and health conditions. Each individual’s nutritional needs are unique, and a tailored approach is necessary for optimal results.
4. Choose expert guidance and avoid falling for popular but potentially ineffective or inappropriate diet trends. Make informed choices and prioritize your long-term health and well-being. Consult with a registered nutritionist or dietitian to get evidence-based advice tailored to individual needs.
5. High-intensity exercises can lead to serious injuries and even trigger a heart attack in certain cases. Make sure that your workout routine is tailored for you by an expert keeping health parameters in mind.
Inputs by Bhavaya Chawla, health and fitness expert; Dr Rohini Patil, nutritionist; Pankaj Hans, Associate Director Minimal Invasive Robotic and Bariatric Surgery.
An expert will have your body fat percentage measured. and put together your plan accordingly. Also, regular checks are crucial. Even when film stars go through a weight loss journey for a particular role, their nutritionists do frequent blood test and monitoring of the systems, so that they not get any aggressive bad health markers. Many do not go through this frequent blood test and therefore, have issues which may silently crop up on them and may result in catastrophic instances:
Ryan Fernando, celebrity nutritionist and influencer
For anyone to lose a lot of weight, there has to be medical investigation done before they embark on their journey. The person in-charge has to have a doctor on board to monitor the progress. Every human body is different and every fitness instructor, when they undertake someone, should be working with a nutritionist to make sure the nutrition is enough for the workout they are doing.
Yasmin Karchiwala, celebrity fitness trainer and influencer
I weighed 150kgs and I lost 50 kg in ten months but in a healthy way. I followed a balanced diet to provide my body provide all the important nutrients. One needs to be patient, overdoing anything is not just unhealthy but life-threatening also. It has to be a slow, gradual process.:
Osama Jalali, chef
One should strive to be healthy but not this way. There is tremendous pressure to look a certain way and the aspiration to dress up a certain way that could be catchy on social media. But it could be fatal. Younger influencers must understand at what cost they are gaining followers and the advice they are doling out to them
Snehil Mehra, influencer and actor