In the midst of a national anti-obesity-epidemic campaign some people may lose sight of healthy weight loss limits. As a result, they go from tipping the scale on the high end to barely making a dent on it. Switching from one extreme to the opposite end of the spectrum can be very damaging to one’s health though. Certain warning signs indicate when unhealthy weight loss is in progress.
The Body Mass Index is based on a person’s weight in proportion to their height and age. The National Institute of Health provides a convenient online BMI calculator that automatically computes the value based on the entered height and weight. Results below 18.5 fall into the “underweight” range, which can lead to various health risks such as malnurition and emaciation.
Although being skinny is “in” seeing every single bone certainly raises a red flag for emaciation due to loss of fat and muscle tissue. People in third world countries often suffer from this health issue due to starvation, but even in the Western world eating disorders can lead to it. Weight loss programs advocating the consumption of less than 1,500 calories a day should be avoided for long periods of time since they can also result in loss of tissue and malnutrition.
If a woman’s body is in starvation mode some biological processes get shut down, such as menstruation. The clinical term for this phenomenon is amenorrhea. While being pregnant can also cause the menstruation cycle to come to a screeching halt, missing one’s period due to starvation should cause alarm since the underlying deficit of nutrients can also cause damage to organs and tissue.
Bone fractures due to osteoporosis
Most people go their entire lives without ever breaking any bones. If someone suddenly develops a higher likeliness for fractures due to brittle bones it could indicate osteoporosis, which in turn is a side effect of malnurition. Granted, in some cases this may be age-related. But not consuming enough calories and calcium can weaken even a young person’s bones.
Weak immune system
The human body needs energy and nutrients to fight off any infections. In the absence of both the immune system basically shuts down like a car without gas. As a result, frequent or long term sickness can be a sign of unhealthy weight loss due to insufficient calorie consumption.
Not consuming enough calories and nutritients is a major health risk that can result in not only sickness, but death even. A healthy diet should be balanced and consist of 1,500 to 2,000 calories a day depending on physical acitivity. Taking multivitamins daily can further ensure that the body’s needs for nutrients are met. Steer clear of fasts for weight loss or fad diets advocating the consumpion of only one kind of food for a certain time frame as these can also lead to malnutrition.
Losing weight should not result in sickness. Head the warning signs for unhealthy weight loss and maintain realistic expectations. Less is not always more, so switch your weight loss efforts to maintanance once you have reached your healthy BMI. Ultimately, being healthy trumps being super-skinny and sick.