When 29-year-old Shikha Arora went on an ‘all fruit’ diet to lose weight before her wedding, she managed to lose 10 kilogrammes (kg) in a record one-and-a-half months, but she had to deal with low blood pressure and severe headache on her special day.
She is not the only one. Every day people are going on crash diets to meet immediate draconian goals, but experts warn that this is equivalent to abusing your body.
“This is a very common problem,” said Aashu, a gym trainer. “Miracles don’t happen in a day. One has to be persistent and dedicated in losing weight. But people just want shortcuts. Unfortunately, there is no shortcut to weight loss. You end up abusing your body.”
Their shortcut to success is answered in yo-yo diets, described as an extreme form of losing weight. It has a cyclical pattern of weight loss and gain and often seen as a harmful weight-losing technique.
Movie stars play an important role in common people’s lives and the tale of gaining and losing weight to fit into the profile of the character they are playing, is prevalent in Bollywood and Hollywood.
Actor Christian Bale lost 28 kgs in three months to enact the role of Trevor Reznick, a paranoid insomniac in The Machinist, and right after that he had to bulk up for Batman Begins for which he reportedly gained 45 kgs in over six weeks. Similarly Abhishek Bachchan had gained 11 kgs for Guru and Vinay Pathak had also piled on kilos for Bheja Fry 2.
But it does not do any good to the body, says Althea Shah, fitness expert at Gold’s gym, Mumbai. “Quick gaining and losing causes havoc with the metabolism. The body system gets adjusted to food patterns and takes some time to change from a set routine. The digestion process gets affected if the body is put on crash diets or binge eating,” said Shah.
According to studies, a liquid diet high on protein may lead to headaches, fatigue and nausea. Protein-based liquid diets can also cause constipation because they lacks fibre; they can also cause loss of lean muscle mass and a decrease in metabolism.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2011.
Correction: Due to a reporting error, an earlier version of this article misstated that actor Christian Bale had to bulk up for the Dark Knight. Christian Bale played Batman's role in Batman Begins, not the Dark Knight.
The error is regretted.