Lose weight: Are you doing it the right way? Part 3
Dieting is an age old concept. It is considered the best tool to help you lose weight.
There are so many different types of diets. It’s like walking down a grocery aisle where you can choose from all kinds of different diet plans.
Like a low-fat diet, a food combining diet, grapefruit diet, ice-cream diet, liquid diet, other fad diets, and on and on.
So many different diets and so much health awareness among people but still there is a raging epidemic of obesity.
One of the reasons for this is that there is awareness but lack of proper knowledge to know how to do it.
Below are 5 important points about dieting that you should know to lose weight and keep it off permanently.
Point 1 – Understand what Dieting means?
Dieting means drastically changing your regular eating pattern. This new eating pattern may feel completely alien to you.
But you convince yourself to follow it by assuring yourself that it is only for a temporary period of time.
Once you reach the body weight that is set in your mind you can return to your normal eating pattern.
“I am on a diet”. What does this statement mean?
This idea of dieting itself is flawed and doomed to failure.
Because when you say to someone “I’m on a diet” or “I am starting a diet for weight loss” what you actually mean is, right now I can’t eat this delicious piece of cake because I’m dieting.
But as soon I’m off the diet I’ll be coming back for that piece like a pack of hungry wolves.
Point 2 – How dieting works?
“But dieting works! I have seen people losing 10-15 kg in 2-3 months.”
Yes, dieting works but temporarily.
You may get the immediate gratification of seeing quick results for a short term discomfort of avoiding your favorite foods and making yourself starve.
But what you don’t realize is that the body has a very sophisticated inner mechanism to protect itself from starvation.
As it has evolved over a long duration to protect itself from drought, famine or natural calamities where there is a shortage of food.
You cannot trick your body into using its stored fat by starving yourself.
To preserve itself, your body goes into energy saving mode where your body will stop spending the excessive energy (calories) and start storing the small amount of energy (calories) it’s receiving.
So, instead of losing fat you will start gaining fat which is just the opposite of what you intended to achieve.
This brings me to the next point
Point 3 – Why eating less won’t work?
Your body is a very complex machine that can perform optimally when given the right kind of nourishment.
And it can survive even when there is very little amount of food.
As mentioned above, your body is very efficient in preserving itself from starving to death.
If you think that just by restricting your calories you will be able to achieve weight loss, then you are in for a big surprise.
When your body sees that there is a deficiency of calories than what is needed for its maintenance, it will switch to fat storing mode.
And the body starts saving as many calories as possible by reducing the BMR.
This strategy of the body to preserve as many calories as possible when there is calorie deficiency is called starvation mode.
So restricting calories for weight loss is not an effective way to lose fat.
You may lose weight but not a lot of fat.
Your body will fulfill its calorie requirement by eating up the precious muscles.
Consider this scenario
Let’s say you are an 80kg (176 lbs) person and want to lose 15kg (33 lbs).
After a strict diet of 2 to 3 months, you are successfully able to achieve your goal.
But even after losing so much weight you are still having a lot of belly fat and not looking as toned and fit as you imagined being.
Here’s what actually happened
Out of that 15kgs (33 lbs), you lost 11kgs (24 lbs) of muscle and 4kgs (9 lbs) of fat.
Now that you are satisfied (maybe not completely), as you have achieved your goal, you can go back to your regular routine.
Once you return to your old eating pattern the weight you lost in that 2 to 3 months of time will all come rushing back along with a few extra pounds.
Like an excited kid coming back from school shouting, “I’m home and I brought few friends along with me.”
And remember, the weight you will be gaining back is fat. Meaning, you lost 11kgs (24 lbs) of muscle and gained 15kgs (33 lbs) of fat.
So basically your shape got even worse from when you started dieting.
Point 4 – Why would you gain back weight?
Let me explain.
Your BMR (body’s ability to burn calories) will be very low from all the muscles you lost during the calorie restricted diet.
Now, when you put back a lot of calories in your body from your regular food, your body will not be metabolizing (burning) those calories for energy.
Instead, it will get stored away as fat, making you fatter than before.
Point 5 – Why counting calories is a bad idea?
Most medical experts and dieticians suggest that you watch the calories you eat and reduce the calorie intake to a certain number to lose weight.
It’s not that simple.
Let’s take an example
Say, your daily calorie need is around 2000 and you restrict yourself to 1500 calories.
Then you will be losing 500 calories each day. And by the end of the week, you would have lost 3500 calories.
This is equal to 1 pound of fat.
Then you should be losing 4 pounds a month. So in theory after 6 months you would have lost 24 pounds.
Do you really think that your body will respond this way in real life?
Absolutely Not! Your body does not work like that. Remember from the above point- The BMR reduces and the Starvation mode activates.
Does this mean you should not be worrying about the calories and can eat the right food in any amount?
No, that’s not what I mean.
If you choose the right kind of food you don’t have to worry about how many calories it contains. Just take the right portion size.
This is a way more practical method than calorie counting.
To permanently shed that unwanted weight from your body and keep those bastards from creeping back, you have to basically change your eating habits, instead of taking some drastic steps.
In the final Part, we will discuss the steps you should take to make these changes.