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Ugly Truth Behind Quick-Fix Weight Loss Solutions

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Extreme diets, such as eating too little, fasting, or enduring strenuous exercise, can be a shortcut to damaging your health.

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When starting a diet, some people may resort to extreme measures due to their desire to lose weight quickly and in large amounts. However, such diets can lead to a yo-yo effect and even harm one’s health.

So, what exactly is meant by an extreme diet, and why should we avoid extreme dieting?

Most notably, starvation or severely restricted eating is considered extreme dieting. The recommended daily calorie intake is about 2,500 calories for men and 2,000 calories for women. An ideal diet would involve eating about 500 calories less. In other words, men should consume around 2,000 calories, and women should consume around 1,500 calories during a diet.

However, if you consume 500 calories less than the recommended intake during a diet, it becomes an extreme diet. Initially, you will experience rapid weight loss. But this phenomenon does not last long. Over time, you may lose less weight or even gain weight.

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Kim Hee Jun, a Korean medicine doctor, cited a 2021 study from the University of Alabama in his YouTube channel Slim Man (Salbbaenam), stating, “If you consume too few calories, your body adapts to it, and as your diet progresses, you lose weight more slowly.”

This is due to metabolic adaptation. If the calories you consume suddenly decrease too much, the muscles and organs in your body start to use less energy. Consequently, even if you eat a little, weight loss may be limited due to decreased energy use. If more time passes, you may gain weight even if you eat a little.

Also, various health problems, such as hair loss and malnutrition, can occur if you don’t consume enough nutrients. Moreover, an obsession with food can lead to eating disorders. Therefore, we do not recommend diets that involve eating too little.

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Excessively intense exercise is also considered extreme dieting. According to a 2011 study of U.S. Army officers, when high-intensity physical activity and dieting co-occur, the immune system weakens significantly, and resistance to viruses dramatically decreases.

Sudden high-intensity exercise can also lead to rhabdomyolysis, which strains the kidneys as muscles break down. The main symptom of rhabdomyolysis is hematuria, which can lead to death in severe cases.

Diet is 70-80% important when aiming for weight loss, and exercise only contributes about 20-30%. Hence, there is no need to do high-intensity exercise for dieting.

Of course, exercise is essential when dieting. Exercise positively affects health by preventing muscle loss, avoiding the yo-yo effect, overcoming plateaus, and improving physical strength. However, as exercise has a small proportion of weight loss, there is no need to do it excessively.

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The standard for high intensity can vary from person to person. Still, it can be considered high intensity if it is too overwhelming and interferes with your daily life, such as studying or working.

Therefore, if you’re a beginner who hasn’t exercised much, you should start with low-intensity exercise and gradually increase the intensity.

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