Impressive, but experts say you shouldn’t try this at home.
Gaining weight is easy, and losing it takes work—but it’s possible, and possible fast. That’s the lesson Sharny and Julius Kieser, creators of the FitMum and FitDad workouts, are putting forth after deciding to gain weight on purpose and lose it again right away. After gaining 60 pounds between them, they collectively lost 66 pounds in eight weeks by working out regularly and eating clean. While the feat is impressive and their methods for losing weight sound, experts warn that letting your weight yo-yo is not a good idea.
“It’s easy to get fat. So I want to go and get as lean as I can to see what my abs look like and what I can achieve,” Sharny said in a Facebook video the couple did after the eight weeks was up.
In August we told you about how why the couple decided to do this in the first place. “We wanted to get back in the trenches with our followers and live it up with them…really go through the pain of quitting junk, feeling like crap, and wanting to quit,” he said. Now, 37 pounds down, he says he feels great.
To gain the weight, the couple at a lot of sugar and takeout pizza until they topped out at 240 pounds (Julius) and 152 pounds (Sharny). Julius now weighs 203 pounds and Sharny weighs 124 pounds—less than she did when they decided to gain the weight.
While their intentions were good and they look fantastic, experts say gaining and losing weight this quickly isn’t great for your health.
“There are definite health risks associated with it,” women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D., tells SELF. She counts diabetes, high blood pressure, and gallstones among them.
Doing this once may not have a huge impact on your body, but having a weight that regularly goes up and down can have a lasting repercussions. “Frequent yo-yo dieting literally eats away at your muscle mass, causing metabolism to slow and making it more and more difficult to lose weight with every future attempt,” Karen Ansel, R.D.N., author of Healthy in a Hurry: Simple, Wholesome Recipes for Every Meal of the Day, tells SELF.
Albert Matheny, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., of SoHo Strength Lab and Promix Nutrition, agrees. “Your body likes routine,” he tells SELF. He recommends that people lose no more than three pounds a week through healthy eating and exercise, a pace that he says is easier to maintain and keep weight off. “Weight loss and better health for most people needs to be [due to] small changes over time so that it’s sustainable,” he says.
Losing weight quickly can also leave you feeling famished. “Quick weight loss requires drastic calorie cutting,” Ansel says. “While that might work for a while, eventually your body is going to rebel out of sheer hunger, which can trigger eating binges that can sabotage all of your diligent efforts.” If you lose weight slowly instead, it’s easier on your appetite and body, she says. (Matheny says you shouldn’t cut any more than 25 to 30 percent of your daily calories.)
That’s why Wider recommends steering clear of extreme and fad diets. “It is almost impossible to maintain the weight loss associated with these,” she says. “There’s no magic here…make small and meaningful changes to your diet that you can sustain and incorporate exercise into your daily routine.”
Matheny recommends coming up with a routine of healthy eating and exercise and sticking to it. Then, track your progress. “If you notice your weight changing up or down, adjust your nutrition or exercise to match,” he says.
Experts stress that slow and steady is key when it comes to weight loss. “Because more gradual weight loss doesn’t call for drastic calorie cutting and also preserves your metabolism, it’s a double win,” Ansel says.