This article was originally published by Bhushan Danani who is a certified fitness professional and strongly believes in educating other through his blog. The text has been edited for consistency
Is it possible to lose 15 kg in 30 days? The answer is a resounding yes! In fact, you can even push yourself to lose 20-25 kg. But the real question is should you?
Some time back, my friend who works with an airline said he needs to lose 2 kg in 3 days to pass a weight check or he may be grounded. For immediate damage control, I urged him to follow three rules (only till the weight check and not a minute longer)
- Stop eating carbohydrates
- Limit water intake
- Do an hour of Low Intensity Cardio 1- 2 hours before the weight check to sweat as much as possible.
And on the day of the weight check, as I had expected he passed. Not just that even the doctor who checked him was curious about how he managed to lose 2 kg in just 3 days.
Of course, in his excitement, he wanted to do this for 15 days to further shed 15 kg. “Let me do it,: he urged. My response was: “If you want to look cadaverous, fall sick, lose your muscle and gain twice the amount fat back when you stop this routine, go ahead. You could even lose more than 15 kg in 20-30 days.” I realised I had to explain in detail why this wasn’t good for him.
But before that I answer the doctor’s question: How did he lose the 2 kg in 3 days?
Glucose is stored in the muscles and the liver as glycogen, which also holds water. If you limit your carbohydrate intake, the body uses up a lot of the glycogen and thus releases the water as well. Effectively you are losing your glucose and water, but not fat. When the sugars go, the water goes rapidly and so your weight drops dramatically.
If you continue doing this, however, your body will eventually run out of glycogen and sends a distress hunger signal which results in slower metabolism. This signal tells to the body to store most of what you put in your mouth as fat, to be stored for days when you don’t eat.
When you eat carbs regularly, the body will utilise fat sources for energy, and not just glycogen. The drastic weight loss in the short term is not fat loss but weight loss due to shedding of water. Once you resume carb intake you will gain this water weight back and reach the same level you were at earlier. But this time you also have gained fat that the body has stored to take care of starvation scenarios.
That seemed to convince him and is the whole point of this post. Even if you burn just 500 calories every day, you lose about a kg in roughly 15 days, which is the healthiest way to lose fat. Any more than this and you are probably also losing muscle and water content, which is very unhealthy in the long run. So I hope you won’t fall prey to advertisements and claims to the contrary. Remember: anything far more than 1 kg per week is dangerous!