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Obesity and Weight Management

Losing 100+ lbs in less than one year

05/22/2008

Question:

Last August my husband, who was around 280 lbs, gave up drinking completely and decided to lose weight. He started a walking exercise (2 hours a day), light weight-lifting and counting his calorie intake. He reduced his intake to 1200 on average and it has remained that way.

Now he is at his "ideal" size, which for him is not exactly what he weighs but the size of his pants. He can now wear the same size or one size smaller pants from 6 years ago when I met him. He last weighed himself at 170 lbs, yet to me and numerous others, he looks anorexic. In fact, a friend of mine said that he reminded her of pictures from Auschwitz.

I am truly concerned that he has lost more than just fat and is at risk, but he doesn`t feel like he needs to go to a doctor. Can you tell me if there are risk for losing so much in a short time period and whether I should be concerned that I can see at least 1/4 if not more of his spine and practically all of his rib bones? I don`t remember him ever feeling like a skeleton with skin glued on when I first met him.

Answer:

Thank you for your question.  Unfortunately you have not given me enough information to help you.  To determine if your husband is truly underweight, determine his body mass index (BMI).  BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both men and women.  It is measured by multiplying weight in pounds by 705 and dividing by the height in inches twice.  The healthy BMI range is between 18.5 and 24.9.

Body weight is only one measure of health, and it really is not the most important measure.  You indicated that your husband is counting calories, but you did not indicate that he is eating a balanced diet.  He can find help with determining an appropriate calorie level and balance by visiting ChooseMyPlate.gov

Rapid weight loss can lead to a loss of calcium from the bones which, if extensive, may become osteoporosis.  Your husband should see his physician for an evaluation of his health status.  Rapid weight loss can become rapidly regained weight, and a physician can assist in referring your husband to the proper health professional to help him maintain a healthy weight loss.

 

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Response by:

Shirley A Kindrick, PhD Shirley A Kindrick, PhD
Former Team Leader of Comprehensive Weight Management
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University