Currently viewing the tag: "losing weight"

Listen up wrestlers, boxers, body builders, brides to be and anybody else who makes a habit of losing significant weight quickly–rapid weight loss can lead to mental confusionAw big deal, right?  Yes, it is–it could mean the difference between a win or loss, increase your risk of injury , or even be a matter of life and death!

Researchers at Cal State Fullerton recently looked at 16 collegiate wrestlers to determine if losing weight rapidly before a match had negative strength implications.  But what they found might have surprised them: although they found no changes in strength, the wrestlers that lost 4% or more of their body mass had significantly higher levels of confusion on the day of the competition.  No increased confusion was observed in those who lost less than 4% body mass.  No wrestler lost more than 8% of their body mass (avg. wt. loss = 6 lbs).  The study is published in the April issue of the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

So you might be wondering why anybody needs to lose weight quickly.  Fighters must ‘weigh-in’ before each bout, so it is common to lose weight right before the match or weigh-in, to come in lighter than their actual weight.  This has the advantage of fighting a smaller opponent if you can get your weight below a certain level.  In fact, most of the wrestlers in the study lost nearly all their weight in the two days before the match.  (They were allowed to choose the desired amount of weight to lose before the match, using methods such as exercise, calorie restriction and fluid deprivation).

The drawbacks were not benign.  According to researchers, “a sport which requires split-second decision making, a higher state of confusion and tension can detrimentally affect the wrestler’s performance.”  No kidding.

Lots of people want to lose weight overnight.  Shows like The Biggest Loser only perpetuate that desire, as they demonstrate how effective rapid weight loss under controlled conditions can be.  But for the most part, rapid weight loss can be dangerous.  Most people that lose weight rapidly gain it back quickly, and the physiological changes that go along with this type of weight loss can have deleterious effects on the body–cardiovascular, neurological and mental.

I never understand when clients tell me they expect their latest weight loss plan (diet or exercise program) to net them 100 lbs. in a year or less.

What?!?! 

Yes, a year or less.

You are crazy–first it probably won’t happen and second, you don’t want it to.  A pound a week is healthy; 50 lbs in a year.  But they are convinced.

I’m not suggesting that this study has anything to do with the type of weight loss I just describe, but it does have a correlation.  Simple–any super-rapid weight loss is going to have physiological effects.  Now extrapolate that to “if it has short-term effects in athletes, what does it do over the long-term in the obese?”  I think that’s a question worth asking.


Thinking about gastric bypass surgery? Better lose weight first. You heard right, getting skinny by the knife requires a pre-op weight loss program. Ahem…

An analysis of medical records of 881 patients who had weight-loss surgery found that the more weight patients lost before the surgery, the less complications they suffered later, such as infections, blood clots, and kidney problems. For patients who actually gained weight before the surgery, they had two times greater risk of suffering complications.

All patients evaluated had undergone the “keyhole” Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery whereby staples are used to create a pouch in the stomach that can hold only a small amount of food at a time; then, a portion of the small intestine is attached to the pouch so that food bypasses the rest of the stomach and part of the small intestine.

This information is important as more and more older and sicker patients are opting for the weight loss surgery. These patients are at a definite increased risk of complications, so the answer is LOSE WEIGHT.

I know, I know…I swear I don’t make this stuff up. OK, some doctors are against the notion of requiring patients to lose weight before weight loss surgery; they believe that mandated pre-surgery weight loss “may be a deterrent to surgery.” Well golly…you mean if people lose weight naturally they’ll just…gulp…lose more weight. That’s a freakin’ wallet drain.

Anyway, I get it–people want the surgery because they don’t think they can do it on their own. They’re wrong about that. I like the recommendations for pre-op gastric bypass patients, not so much because I advocate the operation, but because I think that doing the initial weight loss will show these people they can do it on their own. Losing weight, like everything else, requires inspiration. Money is best, studies show; but if not the green, then I can certainly understand the prospect of getting gastric bypass and further weight loss might drive some people. Whatever. I just say if you can lose fifty…seventy five pounds pre-op, you can do two-fifty by sticking with it, for sure.

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