We’ve gotta hand it to producers of infomercials and weight loss ads today: They are effective as hell. The scenes show overweight and depressed people before the product, a brief product intro, and then cut to the ripped hotties who are glowing from the awesome sex they are supposedly having. Not surprisingly, this makes everyone want to lose more weight. But what the advertisements don’t show are the things that can cause some people to back out of weight-loss goals. Here are four weird side effects of weight loss that will leave you more informed about the challenge.
(*Sneak preview: Some of the weirdness will improve your sex life.)
1. Gall stones
Many weight loss programs call for reduced fat diets. Reducing or eliminating certain fats, like hydrogenated oil and trans fats, is a great idea because those fats have been scientifically proven to induce obesity. But natural fats play a host of function in our body, from assimilation of certain vitamins to the function of our gall bladders.
The gall bladder requires a certain amount of fat to stimulate bile, which emulsifies fat. When you eat fat, your gallbladder contracts and bile flows. When fat is severely reduced or omitted, bile that normally flows through the gallbladder can stagnate and form gall stones, which can be quite painful.
Fix: Make sure to eat some healthy fats during the day to stimulate your gallbladder and prevent accumulation of bile. Tropical oils, like coconut and palm, along with animal fats like butter and lard, have high quantities of healthy saturated fats that stimulate the gallbladder and help you lose weight.
A dramatic restriction of calories means will leave you with less energy for vital functions, like sleep. If you cut your diet too drastically, you can also deplete some key sleep nutrients and minerals, like vitamin D and magnesium, which interferes with sleep.
Fix: If you’ve battled with sleepless nights during weight loss programs, try adding some additional calories in the form of healthy fats (coconut oil, organic butter, avocado oil, and quality carbohydrates, like whole grain rice and corn). Also, experiment with a salty and fat-containing snack (like salted cashews) before bed.
3. Brain fog
When you lose weight, you aren’t just losing fat. People often gain weight due to excess acidity of the blood because fat is used as a buffer to keep blood pH in an optimal range. So when you start burning fat you also release toxins and stored acid into your bloodstream, which can make you irritable and foggy. Cognitive impairment can also be caused by hypoglycemia, which often occurs during weight loss.
Fix: Supplementing with vitamin C will help convert toxins into water soluble form, and drinking enough water will help you to flush those toxins out through your excretory system. To combat hypoglycemia, make sure you are getting adequate salt intake throughout the day and carry some almonds or cashews to snack on when your blood sugar dips.
4. Elongated penis
Weird doesn’t necessarily have to be bad, as citizens of Austin, Texas, have demonstrated; weird can actually be really good. One common experience among males who have lost significant fat is an effective elongation of the penis.
It’s not that your penis will magically sprout a couple inches for being such a committed dieter, but the fat that surrounds your pubic area will diminish to reveal more penis length. Dr. Harry Fisch, author of The New Naked, says, “If you lose weight, you can actually gain an inch or two because the [pubic] fat would be less.”
Losing weight isn’t just eating protein smoothies and riding bikes; it can actually get really intense. But if you prepare yourself for the rough spots, you can overcome the challenges instead of getting bucked off the wagon.