There are a number of reasons to embark on a weight loss regime. Sometimes it’s health-related, people want to feel fit and well, they want to be physically able to do the things they want to do.
Often, though the main reason people want to lose weight is more image-related – they want to feel good about themselves when they look in the mirror. Our weight and body-image can affect our self-esteem, so it’s natural to want to enjoy the self-confidence that comes with feeling good about our bodies and looking our best.
However, there can be a less than desirable side-effects of weight loss that can equally affect your appearance and your confidence.
Increased hair loss during and after losing weight is a common problem. So, if you’re planning to lose weight in order to look and feel better, it can be helpful to know in advance how to prevent excessive hair loss or thinning as you slim down.
The Link Between Hair Loss and Weight Loss
Our bodies are complex systems and so changes can affect us all differently, but here are a few issues that are commonly associated with hair loss during weight loss.
Lack of Nutrition
Depending on your weight loss regime, one aspect that could affect your hair is your nutrition. Healthy hair requires that your body receives the right levels of certain vitamins and minerals, as well as plenty of lean proteins. If your new diet is lacking in any of these vital ingredients, any weight loss may be at the expense of the healthy functioning of your hair follicles and the appearance of your hair.
The food we eat can affect our hormones, which in turn can have physical side-effects. Our skin, nails, and hair, in particular, can be a good indication of our internal systems and hormonal balance. Changes to your normal food and exercise regimes can impact your hormone levels. One possible result of these hormonal changes is hair thinning or loss.
Reducing calorie intake can be a successful weight-loss strategy but crash diets or very-low-calorie diets deprive the body of the energy and nutrition it needs to function well. As the body prioritises its processes to keep you alive during a ‘starvation period’, it will neglect less vital processes such as healthy hair growth.
If you begin to exercise much more often or more intensely than your body is used to, it can trigger a kind of shock reaction in your system. A common result of this shock is Alopecia Areata – a temporary hair loss or baldness, usually on the scalp – which means that your hair falls out more than normal.
A degree of ‘healthy stress’ is a natural part of being human. However, excessive stress can disrupt your hormone levels and your body’s restorative processes. If your weight-loss regime leads to increased stress, anxiety or exhaustion, this can affect hair growth and the rate at which hair falls out.
Now that you know what issues can lead to hair loss during a new diet or exercise regime, here are a few tips to help you prevent it:
Tips for preventing hair loss during weight loss
- Vitamins & protein – Know your nutritional needs before you choose your weight loss regime. Then you can select a programme that will provide the nutrients you need and balance your hormones in a supportive way.
- Calorie intake – Avoid overly restrictive calorie-controlled regimes. These may compromise your body’s systems and lack the nutrients required for healthy hair.
- Gradual weight loss – Avoid extreme regimes and crash diets. Aim for gradual weight loss that works with your body and supports its healthy functioning.
- Manage stress – Ensure that you include an element of stress relief in your new regime. Also, aim to find the right programme for you – one that isn’t excessively stressful.
Losing excess weight can be a wonderful boost to your health and self-esteem and with a little planning and awareness, you can enjoy a slimmer, healthier body without compromising your appearance and your confidence.