No one likes to be obese. Not only is it unhealthy, but it also creates a poor self-image. So the way out? Exercise, diet and weight loss. But although most of us, who are on the higher side of the weighing scale would like to shed a few pounds, we definitely would not want to shed a few hairs along with it! Unfortunately, that is precisely what it seems to happen. Research and studies have shown, people who lose weight all of a sudden or lose a lot of it, also start suffering from hair loss and hair fall. Now, no one would like this to happen, right? So let’s get in-depth into why this happens and what can be done to prevent the same.
When we start losing weight suddenly or a lot of it in a short time, we might end up depriving our body of its essential nutrients, including protein, iron and vitamins. Our hair is mainly made up of protein. If your diet lacks essential nutrients like iron and protein, then the body first reroutes whatever nutrients it gets to the other organs first, because for your body, your hair is not a “must have” for its healthy functioning. Usually, for those who try and follow a crash diet, they tend to leave out one particular group of nutrients entirely from their diet like protein or iron, which leads to nutrition deficiency and subsequent hair loss.
Coming to hair fall from weight loss, unlike alopecia areata, where you may start losing hair in patches, in this case, you start noticing your hair thinning on the top of the head or crown. Our hair has 3 phases, anagen or growth phase, catagen or transitional phase and telogen or resting phase. When we go on a crash diet, many hairs from the anagen phase goes directly to the resting period from which it falls off. In normal circumstances, 10% of our hair remains in the telogen phase. But in case of nutritional deficiency or stress, even 70% of our hair might enter the telogen phase leading to excessive hair fall.
As per hair experts, when people decide to lose weight by dieting, most of the time they fail to follow a healthy diet for weight loss. Since the main focus remains on salads and fruits, The body fails to get healthy hair nutrients like iron, protein and zinc. So, experts suggest to take things slow and plan your weight loss over some time than trying to lose the same in a hurry. Also here are some tips from hair experts, which would help you lose weight the right way, without damaging those strands on top of your head:
1. Include a lot of protein and whole grains in your diet. Our hair follicles are mainly composed of the protein keratin, thereby making protein an essential component for good hair growth. Also, whole grains are rich in zinc, iron and B vitamins, which provides excellent nutrition for your hair.
2. Focus on losing your weight gradually than all of a sudden. Sudden weight loss creates stress, which, in turn, leads to telogen effluvium. As per the American Council on Exercise, you can lose upto 2 lbs a week, with the right balance of exercise and diet.
3. Incorporate a healthy lifestyle and plan out your weight loss, over a period of a few months. Along with healthy eating, practice a healthy lifestyle which includes aerobic exercises like walking swimming, jogging, cycling etc
4. Download a proper diet application or get a diet chart made by a nutrition specialist, which would ensure that you lose weight the healthy way, which would not affect the functioning of the body, including hair fall.
5. Avoid consumption of tea as much as possible if you are on a diet, as tea leads to loss of iron from the body and a lack of iron increases your hair fall.
6. In case you notice some hair loss during dieting, don’t take stress. Stress would only lead to further hair loss. Remember, this type of hair loss is temporary, and within 3 to 6 months of getting back into eating healthy, the situation will improve.
7. A typical process followed by people who are losing weight is to reduce their calorie consumption. But it’s good to remember that for proper functioning of the body, optimum calorie intake is essential. Therefore keeping track of your calorie intake and meeting the required levels, would be the right thing to do.