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Is it unhealthy to lose twenty eight pounds in three months?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
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Hi my name is XXXX I am in the us coast guard. I have to lose 28 pounds in 3 months but they are now trying to discharge me. According to them it is unhealthy to lose that much weight in 3 months. Is it unhealthy???
Posted Wed, 21 Aug 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Prasad 2 hours later

Thanks for sharing your concern here.

Yes, losing weight very fast is considered unhealthy by many doctors. I shall explain this with two examples:
1. Starving with an aim to lose weight will shift body glucose metabolism. In the absence of enough calories, body initially starts to break down protein mass leading to emaciation.
2. Over exercises can cause rhabdomyolysis / elevated creatinine phosphokinase. These have detrimental effects on Kidney and other organs.

In view of the two complications, we do not recommend losing weight very fast. That being said, there is no clear cut definition of fast weight loss. In general terms more than 22 pounds of weight loss in 3 months is considered as fast weight loss. You can target 2-3 pounds weight reduction a week with moderate exercise and reduced calorie/high fiber diet. Do not push for it, if you develop negative symptoms. Body aches, weakness, fever, reduced urine output, urine color changes are some common negative symptoms you will need to watch for if you wish to attempt this fast weight reduction.

Hope this answers your query. Let me know if you need clarification.

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