Why dieting doesn't help lose weight
Experts have advised health freaks not to indulge in dieting to lose weight after piling on pounds. Taking certain foods out of one’s diet and following a super low calorie intake works for some time, but what ultimately leads to diet failure is sustainability. Read on.Updated: Sep 05, 2011 18:26 IST
Experts have advised health freaks not to indulge in dieting to lose weight after piling on pounds.
The Sinai Hospital program offers weight loss surgery patients expert advice and consultation from Melissa Majumdar – who consults patients on real life scenarios such as how to make food decisions while on vacation and after. The one thing Majumdar says is common in all diets is that they all end.
Taking certain foods out of one’s diet and following a super low calorie intake works for some time, but what ultimately leads to diet failure is sustainability. The body cannot survive on a rabbit’s diet for long.Majumdar said the body is very similar to a machine – the machine works as long as one puts fuel in it, the moment fuel stop pouring in, the machine breaks down.
Likewise, the body’s source of fuel is calories, which is actually just a measurement of energy. Over a long period of underfeeding, or dieting, the hypothalamus down-regulates the metabolism to be more efficient and use fewer calories for energy.
When the body goes without enough fuel during a diet, it gets nervous, thinks it is starving, and conserves fat – kind of like an animal in hibernation. The same thing happens when meals are skipped, or the body goes without fuel for longer than 4 hours.
The moment the diet ends and regular eating resumes, the body stores the extra calories as fat and what used to be enough calories is now too much.
Additionally, during this period of “starvation,” the body starts to use lean muscle tissue for fuel. Muscle cells are the ovens of the body, burning the food into energy. So at the end of a diet when the body is left with less muscle mass, there are ultimately fewer calories burning going on.
According to Majumdar, what one needs to do is working on adjusting one’s mindset – one lifestyle habit at a time.
Even the simple idea of a diet is bound to fail as deep-down within, the eating habits are not forever and the basic equation to be followed for health includes sound sleep and exercise.
She has advised people to start by getting 7-8 hours of sleep, as without adequate time for growth and repair, the body pumps out more of the hormone cortisol, which leads to increased fat around the middle and muscle breakdown.
Add 64 ounces of pure water to hydrate and keep the calorie-burning cells in a comfortable environment, as staying hydrated also keeps appetite controlled.
Add more activity and aim for 150 minutes per week, but a stroll around the block is not enough. The goal of exercising is to get the heart rate up and the arms and legs pumping.
Use talking as the barometer – exercise is anything done at an intensity above a talking pace.
Lean (or low in saturated fat) protein should be the centre of each meal whether it is chicken breast, ground turkey, fish or low fat dairy.
Limit servings of carbohydrates to one per meal. One serving is 15 grams of carbohydrates, which is equivalent to about a tennis ball size piece of fruit or ½ cup of cooked grains.
Majumdar also claims that after following this equation, one won’t need to crash diet next bikini season, and more importantly, one won’t have the extra weight that comes after it.
First Published: Sep 05, 2011 16:11 IST