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Extreme weight loss doesn’t exist and here’s why

On Monday, as the majority of media platforms raced to boast about Kim Kardashian’s impossible endeavour to lose 16 pounds in three weeks, we here at Body + Soul sat with our stomachs in a knot. The Met Gala – with all its faults and cause for social discourse – has always been a highly anticipated and admired event. But this year, admiration was thrown to the curb side when Kim Kardashian explained in her red carpet interview, the extent of her Met Gala preparation. Her intentional weight loss undertaking was something inhumane, and yet somewhat reminiscent of a diet culture we had long forgotten and hoped to never see again. It cast a nod to those newspaper diets from the mid 1900s, the editorial notes that told women they couldn’t eat carbs and could only indulge in two meals a day. Even more, it spotlighted the re-emergence of thinness among body standards, highlighting that – despite the progress we assumed we’d made towards body positivity – toxic diet culture still has a firm grip on society. How diet culture gaslights you Like what you see? Sign up to our bodyandsoul.com.au newsletter for more stories like this. Information about Kardashian’s extremely restrictive diet has since surfaced, and by consequence, a surge of ‘Kim K rapid diet’ plans have circulated the media. The issue here is not Kardashian’s own quest to shed some kgs, the issue lies in the subsequent glamorisation of radical weight loss. And being a person of incredible influence, Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala figure not only highlights the fact that fast weight loss is possible, but that it’s also desirable. During bouts of rapid weight loss, especially via such prohibitive practices that Kim Kardashian so openly adopted, the human body ultimately suffers. Our resident nutrition expert Lyndi Cohen helped to put into perspective just how detrimental crash dieting is, explaining that the effects extend beyond physical changes to body shape and size. “When we temporarily cut out carbs – our body’s preferred energy source – we become fatigued and tired… and our body feels cold all the time as we’re not getting enough energy and it’s having to dig into fat reserves,” Lyndi outlines. Digging into our alternate energy sources is what ultimately causes our bodies to lose major muscle mass, contributing to a weaker body. Not only this but our bone density lessens, increasing the risk of major injuries, and our immunity suffers. instagram Lyndi also points out that when adopted for a long time, extreme diets can cause severe hair loss and disruptions to the female menstrual cycle. Beyond these physical reactions, she goes on to explain how dieting to this intensity comes with the very high risk of encouraging a poor mental health. “Psychologically, the impacts are huge. Crash dieting can encourage obsession and a preoccupation with food, taking up precious headspace… The risk factor for developing an eating disorder, depressive mood, [and] compromised immune health are very real.” If we were to break down the anatomy of a crash diet, in most cases the type of weight that is made the main target is weight that is typically ‘easy’ to shift, i.e. water weight. For the case of Kim Kardashian, she admits to adopting new strategies that encouraged augmented perspiration in order to maximise her water weight loss, compromising her hydration in the process. And with severe dehydration comes damaging effects to our brain, skin and urinary health. What many people also fail to recognise is the aftermath of diets, particularly to rapid famines. As the body has become accustomed to smaller amounts of sustenance, causing the metabolism to slow down, the already existing obsession with food is amplified and weight gain is more probable. Lyndi explains: “Statistically, dieting leads to weight gain, along with creating an obsession with food which can make it harder for you to just eat healthily.  This is because when you finally eat the food you’ve been denying yourself, you may feel completely out of control due to all the restrictions and hunger.” instagram Ultimately, this rigorous nutrition restriction not only causes a trigger response within the body, but creates incredibly unhealthy practices for the mind. “If we continue to blame ourselves for dieting, we’ll keep getting pulled into the allure of the newest diet trends, which are all, inevitably, unsustainable,” concludes Lyndi. While the way that we as a society approach the topic of weight loss has come a long way from the enforced beauty standards of the 90s, the way that weight loss is so casually discussed on the red carpet of coveted events is far from reformed. And the consequent glamorisation of unhealthy practices for physical allure is simply asinine. Lyndi Cohen is a dietitian and best-selling author of The Nude Nutritionist and is known for calling out nutrition nonsense, challenging diet culture and promoting healthy body image. You can follow her on Instagram here, visit her here, or sign up to her online program for ending emotional eating, Keep It Real here.

Extreme weight loss doesn’t exist and here’s why
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Published by Chizzyterem

A gentle polite boy

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