“It’s a lot—I went on a meal plan before the video because I knew I would have to be dancing fairly skimpily dressed,” she said, according to E! News. “I did a lot of rehearsals actually, and man I lost 15 pounds in a week dancing to that song!”
Iggy may or may not have been exaggerating, but even so, rapid weight loss like what she’s describing isn’t exactly healthy—in fact, for most, it’s flat-out dangerous. Doctors usually recommend no more than 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss a week, depending on your medical history. Anything more than that often means it’s been done through unsafe dieting practices that can have major consequences for your health.
Clifton Page, M.D., sports medicine physician at the UHealth Sports Medicine Institute at the University of Miami, tells SELF that one tell-tale sign of rapid weight loss is “loss of fluid and dehydration”—meaning you’re not actually losing pounds of fat, but rather depriving your body of the water it needs to function. Losing water weight can disrupt the body’s systems and lead to cardiac arrhythmias, increased cramping, muscle damage, and kidney damage. “It can put a hit on your body and can lead to irreversible damage,” he says.
“Our bodies need water and other fluids to function properly, and if you become dehydrated, some of these processes may not function normally,” women’s health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D., previously told SELF. “Severe dehydration can have dire consequences.” Those consequences can include heat stroke or exhaustion, seizures, and even death in the most extreme cases, according to Mayo Clinic.
Experts also note that losing lots of weight quickly usually isn’t a sign of increased exercising, as Iggy suggests, but rather because of over-restricting calories. Not eating enough can lead to lack of nutrients, low energy, constipation, constant feelings of hunger and thirst, and irritability. Nutritionists usually warn that women who want to lose weight should not go under 1,200 calories a day, but your personal number is dependent on many factors, including your basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories your body burns at a resting state) as well as how much activity you do in a day. You can read more about calories and weight loss here.
No matter what, chances are if Iggy did experience a significant amount of weight loss in a short time, the results would be temporary, rather than sustainable. “If she was to go back to her normal eating behavior, she’d likely regain some of that lost weight,” Christine Ann Pellegrini, Ph.D., an assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. In short, losing a lot of weight quickly is dangerous and ineffective. So if you catch Iggy Azalea’s newest single, let it inspire you to dance, but do it for the fun of it—not because you want to twerk your way to weight loss.
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Iggy Azalea Says She Lost 15 Pounds in a Week From Twerking