Hopefully, we are all aware enough by now to know that quick-fix or severe caloric restriction diets simply do not work, and that they can be very unhealthy and dangerous.
When you severely restrict the amount of calories that you take in, your body perceives this condition as starvation. The body's natural response to starvation is to lighten the load by shedding its muscle tissue. Since muscle is metabolically active, your body needs less food to survive when muscle tissue is lost.
If you are practically starving yourself in order to watch the numbers go down on the scales, remember this: the weight you may lose at first on an extremely low-calorie diet is not only bodyfat. Much of it is muscle, and when muscle tissue is lost, it is actually easier for the body to store fat.
Also, when a person loses muscle tissue, they eventually become weak and tired, resulting in a reduced level of physical activity. In turn, this inactivity and weakness causes an even greater loss of muscle tissue.
Metabolism is the amazing process that converts food--think fuel--to the pure energy that keeps your body going. The innate intelligence of your body efficiently and automatically transforms the food that you eat into the pure energy that you rely on to fuel your busy day through the miracle of metabolism.
Not eating enough food actually slows down the metabolic rate, which is the speed at which your body burns calories. The most metabolically active tissue in your body is muscle. Muscle even burns calories while you are asleep. To put it simply, the more lean muscle you have, the more efficiently your body can burn fat, and the less likely it is that your body will store fat.
Since the process of digestion and absorption takes energy, every time you eat a meal your metabolic rate increases. One of the reasons why eating breakfast is so important is that it kicks in your metabolism early in the day. Also, when you eat smaller, more frequent meals during the day, your metabolic rate naturally rises.
There is no such thing as healthy dieting involving severe caloric restriction. Yes, people do temporarily lose bodyweight on crash diets, but usually end up gaining it back. Keep in mind, however, that there is a major difference between losing bodyweight and losing bodyfat.
Vital muscle, water, protein, and glycogen can all account for rapid bodyweight loss. Beware of any program promising that you will lose more than two pounds per week, and always consider the long term negative effects of fad diets on your health.
When I first began studying nutrition, I was surprised to learn that a calorie is not an actual component of food. The calorie is simply a measure used to express the heat or energy value of food and physical activity. Once again, the mysterious concept of energy, which is intrinsically related to the pure life force flowing through us all, weaves through the course of our daily existence.
Your energy level is affected by every aspect of your lifestyle, but an imbalance in your nutritional energy input usually has the most noticeable and immediate effects on your overall health and well being.
If you are not taking in adequate calories from the right sources, it is impossible to have sufficient energy to lead an active, healthy lifestyle. For this reason, chronic dieters are usually chronically tired. People who are always on a diet rarely have the energy to exercise enough to maintain a healthy ratio of lean muscle to body fat. Eventually, due to uncontrollable hunger, weakness, and frustration, the chronic dieter usually regains the weight lost, and in many cases, gains back even more bodyfat than when they first began dieting.
Chronic rapid weight loss and subsequent gains increase vulnerability to colds and disease, since the body is not supplied with adequate nutrients to strengthen the immune system. What is sometimes referred to as Yo-yo dieting has also been linked to menstrual problems and cardiovascular disease.
Over the years, I have seen the harmful physical and emotional effects of chronic dieting in countless individuals and patients. It is encouraging, therefore, to see the recent gradual, positive changes in health consciousness in the overall population.
People are truly beginning to understand that the only way to maintain their own individual, ideal, healthy weight and shape is to make positive, permanent changes in their overall lifestyle.
They have had enough of grapefruit diets, magic bullet pills, toning machines, creams, and wraps all promising to melt off the cellulite. They have finally come to understand that the bottom line is maintaining a healthy balance in their life.
They are also realizing that, for every person featured in ridiculous before and after weight loss scams, there are hundreds of thousands who have lost bodyfat the common sense way.
They are accepting the fact that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. They are also recognizing the fact that millions of people maintain healthy physiques and lifestyles naturally, without the expensive “help” of trendy opportunists.
By learning the facts and using common sense, you can permanently lose excess bodyfat without starving yourself. If you are sick and tired of all the hype and nonsense surrounding weight loss, perhaps it is time to return to the basics.
Be completely honest with yourself as you step back and look at the entire picture of your current lifestyle. Spend time engaging in activities that will nourish and connect your mind, body, and spirit and create a more balanced, healthy way of living on a day-to-day basis.
Rather than using discipline as a short term, negative tool in order to starve yourself, use it in a positive, long-term way to create a healthier, more energetic lifestyle. Let your positive intentions and desires work in your favor as you allow your inner voice to guide you along a healthier, more fulfilling path.
If, in the past, you have felt like a prisoner trapped in your own body, and suffered countless disappointments with countless diets, make a conscious decision to liberate yourself by changing your course, seeking your own truth, and truly becoming the master of your own destiny.
Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Dietary supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Dr. Suzy is a retired Doctor of Chiropractic and active Health And Fitness Educator. The information and suggestions that she shares on this website are for reference purposes only and not intended to be diagnostic in any way nor a substitute for consultation with a physician or other licensed health-care professional. Always obtain a complete physical examination and discuss your specific conditions, limitations, and health history with the qualified health care provider of your choice before making major lifestyle changes.