How DIETING can make you FAT!
Weight loss, followed by weight re-gain, or the yo-yo dieting cycle is the modus operandi (MO) of the average modern dieter. But these recurring weight fluctuations are more than inconvenient, discouraging, or fleeting aspects of the dieter's dilemma. They have a lasting and fundamental impact on the body's system, altering its makeup, its ability to function and the efficiency with which it burns calories.
The critical issue is not how many pounds the dieters loose but what kind of pounds! Since the loss of lean body mass occurs as soon as dieting begins, every down phase of the yo-yo syndrome leaves the dieter with less muscle mass.
When the weight is regained mostly fat and very little muscle is replaced. The ability to repair loss of lean body mass decreases with each decade of life so weight loss has more serious consequences as we age.
Even the best weight loss program done through dieting may train the body's metabolism and cell function to adjust to a low-calorie diet by decreasing the basal metabolic rate which means you don’t burn calories very efficiently.
It can also teach the body to metabolize the food you eat more efficiently, store it as body fat, and reduce the rate of dietary induced thermo-genesis, or the rate that the body uses fat for energy.
The restrictive diet is the problem! The body is just trying to make adjustments based on the environmental threat of less food, just like animals in hibernation or having a starvation response.
Restrictive Dieting is fattening because it causes the body to go into the Starvation Response!
It really does change alot that has to be corrected for the best weight loss program.
The body responds quickly when it senses there is lack of food to match the hunger signals it is supplying.
The body adapts to a reduction in calories, by doing the following things (all of which sabotage any efforts to actually shed excess weight and keep it off over time):
This is a physiological response in the body that is much like what happens during hibernation in animals during the winter months. The amount of calorie restriction required to start this biological reaction in the body can vary with each individual. I have seen this phenomena occur with as little as 200-500 calorie reduction a day in individuals trying to lose weight and operating against the body wisdom. This usually occurs with people who have dieted repeatedly (see; Yo-Yo Diet Cycle PDF and below).
The solution is to always practice Intuitive or Responsive Eating, which is eating in response to hunger within 5-10 minutes whenever possible, making a perfect match with the belly hunger, and developing or maintaining regular pleasurable exercise much of the damage can be undone.
To rebuild the muscle lost through years of dieting, be sure to include strength or resistance training in your exercise routines. Muscles are the part of the body that require energy and burn calories, so as we loose muscle through weight loss we burn less calories in our daily activities and in our exercise time.
The diagram below says it all......Diets create overeating!
So the solution is the learn how to undo all your old thinking about food and eating without leading to binging all the time or at all.
Learn how to legalize/normalize foods. There is all the detail on this on the page titled Normalizing Food on this site.
The other practice that must be a part of the weight loss program is learning to follow Inner Wisdom in terms of when and how much to eat. This wisdom resides in your belly. Yep, it has always been there you have just been ignoring it for many reasons that you will find out on this site.
Without this connection when the diet or the weighing and measuring stops (and someday it will- the research shows it is usually within 2-5 years) overeating ensues and of course weight-regain (usually more than what was lost). This is part of why dieting is fattening!
To check in with the Inner Wisdom or Belly wisdom use the hunger scale (below) to determine if you are even hungry before eating or is it something else that is calling you that you need to learn about (see the page about Other Hungers).