DIET DISASTERS

Only 5 percent of all dieters will have maintained their weight loss at the end of one year. That’s not too encouraging when you consider the average American diets three to four times annually. Why are so many people involved in this self-defeating acts? An obsession with thinness and the limited view that dieting will help you lose weight has Americans running to buy diet aids to the tune of 10 billion dollars per year. But the bottom line is that “diets” don’t work.

DIETING ATTITUDES

One comedian said the root of the word diet is “to die.” It conjures up the dying urge to eat, and a life filled with deprivation and wilted celery sticks. The common phrase “going on a diet” gives you the feeling that it is something you start but are able to quit. The thought of dieting makes you hungry for foods you had even forgotten about. Dieting may be the “in” social thing to do but the statistics show that it is simply not working.

WHY DIETS DON’T WORK…

People who diet often can lower their metabolisms enough to decrease their caloric needs. This can be done in two ways:

1.First, a diet of less than 1000-1200 calories can actually cause a starvation-like state and force your body to conserve calories The body will cut back its caloric needs to survive. Therefore, you won’t lose more in the long run on a 500-calorie diet than you would on one above 1000 calories. This starvation state can lower the metabolism for as much as one year.

2.Second, crash dieting can change the body’s composition. Let’s say you lost 10 pounds in two weeks. Most of that weight was water (5 pounds), some was fat (3 pounds) and the rest was muscle (2 pounds). When the weight is regained (as 95 percent is), it comes back in the form of fat and water. Every future diet can perpetuate this downward cycle of muscle loss; the chronic dieter may change their percentage of body fat over time from 25 percent to 35-40 percent. Surprisingly, the scale may not show large amounts of weight change. Muscle burns up more calories than fat and chronic dieting makes you lose a large percentage of what helps you keep trim. This Yo-Yo effect of losing and regaining can harm the body. It is better to never have dieted at all than to keep losing and regaining the same 1020 pounds.

What does help lose and maintain weight is healthy eating habits and food choices and a more active lifestyle. Take a fresh look at your daily diet and exercise — get rid of the idea that a diet is something to endure for a month after which you can go back to your old habits. Make short- and long-term goals to slowly change your lifestyle to include healthier food choices and to be more active at work and play.

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