My Nutrition and Fitness Plan

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why Diets Don't Work

I have tried every diet there is. I’ve tried Akins, Weight Watchers, South Beach, Vegan, vegetarianism, organic, body cleansing, and Nutrisystem. The thing I have found over the years is I always gain the weight that I lose back and sometimes even more.
The classic binge before a diet seems to be where I fail. I eat my weight in food because I imagine myself starving and being miserable during a diet. So it’s possible for me to gain an entire pound the night before a diet. Which if the diet ends up only working for a couple days then I just gained a pound and never lost anything. Do this a couple times and you have a serious problem
As I’ve kept a diet journal I’ve noticed habits that I have. When I’m on my menstrual cycle or about a week before I eat a lot of junk food. When I’m stressed I eat, or bored. I also tend to eat late at night if I’ve stayed up doing homework. Diets don’t put all of these situations in there. They don’t account for cravings, parties, or eating out.
All fad diets take away something. Of course if you take away a food-group then you’ll lose the weight because you are losing the calories associated with that food. Atkins calls for you to get rid of carbs. Your body goes into ketosis, which causes your body to break down muscle as long as fat. You need muscle. One pound of muscle actually burns almost double the calories that a pound of fat would burn. Ketosis is our body’s way of dealing with starvation. Instead of burning glucose it burns fat but then moves on to muscle.
Diets mess with our metabolisms. They cause irregular eating habits that aren’t practical for long term. Every food has something that your body needs and if you cut it out then you aren’t giving your body what it needs. We need every part of the food pyramid and it’s essential that we don’t cut anything out. Moderation is what is key. What we eat is important but also how much and how often we eat is important.
Diets tend to lower the caloric intake by a significant amount. This leads the body to feel as if it’s in “starvation mode.” The body then stores everything you eat as body fat. It’s our body’s way of coping. Our body thinks it has to do this in order to survive what it thinks will be a famine. Honestly most diets are a famine. Then instead of burning fat it pulls from our muscle in order to survive. This causes people to lose weight but not body fat. Muscle is denser than fat so as you lose weight in pounds you will expand in circumference. Your metabolism will decrease as you lose muscle. Not only does starvation make you lose muscle but so does age so you get hit on two sides.
When you go off the diet you will naturally start to consume more calories. This increase in calories would lead to weight gain because your body would have already adapted to the lower caloric intake. Also because of putting your body through starvation your metabolism would be decreased. This decrease would make it hard for your body to metabolize the increased caloric amount. Researchers at UCLA in 2007 found that “Diets Are Not the Answer.” They did a study on effective obesity treatments. One of the conclusions was that dieters regained the weight. A quote from the study say that “Studies show that one third to two thirds of dieters regain more weight than they lost on their diets.” The study also said “It appears that dieters who manage to sustain a weight loss are the rare exception, rather than the rule. Dieters who gain back more weight than they lost may very well be the norm, rather than an unlucky minority.”
While diets seem to mess with our body it also messes with our minds. When you feel depraved of something then you will focus on that food. The more you focus on that food the more likely it is that you will cave and eat it. This set back usually isn’t small. When someone gives into a craving it’s usually severe which causes a serious set back to weight loss. Large binges will cause weight gain.
In the end all a diet does is causes stress, a feeling of losing control, weight gain, a slowed metabolism, decreased muscle, fatigue, and an unhappy person. Diets aren’t the way to go. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet accompanied with exercise is the only sure way to gain control over a healthy weight. You will get out what you put in. Effort, consistency, and hard work is what will get you results, there are no quick fixes.

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