Don’t Take Dieting To Extremes
With summer comes the great unveiling of all the winter bellies and rolls we were able to keep under wraps in colder weather. As a result, too many people jump at the first quick weight-loss scheme they can grab to eliminate the evidence by shedding pounds fast. And there are plenty of them. (If you’ve ever spent a sleepless night, you can find countless paid programs illustrating the incredible powers of this diet or that on pretty much every television channel.)
The first problem with quick weight loss diets is that their outcomes are just as quickly reversed. Most weight lost this way is water, not fat. The minute you return to eating normal again, the weight comes right back on. Most quick loss schemes involve a diet that cuts calories to the extreme and doesn’t take into account an individual’s specific size, dietary requirements and health issues. One size does not fit all. This sort of diet reduces muscle mass by forcing the body to burn muscle rather than fat. Less muscle mass results in a slower metabolism. And clinical studies have shown that extreme diets – eliminating whole food groups and/or drastically reducing one’s daily caloric intake – are not sustainable. (Source: New England Journal of Medicine, International Journal of Obesity.)
Losing lots of weight quickly, then regaining it (and then some) is commonly known as yo-yo dieting. Not only is it bad for the waist line, it’s bad for your cardiovascular system. “Yo-yoing” decreases glucose tolerance and alters fat tissue, which in turn can increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease. So while you might like what you see on the scale, you won’t like what you feel health-wise.
Extreme dieting is not a healthy or productive sport! Instead, take a more mindful approach to weight loss. Substitute healthier choices for foods you know put weight on you. For example, use milk in coffee not cream. Try to reduce consumption of sugar by cutting back on desserts or sweets. Choose leaner cuts of beef, and cut back on the “negative” carbs like rice and pasta and white bread and instead eat more vegetables and salads. Add more activity to your schedule. Walk a few days a week; take the stairs instead of the elevator; park further from buildings. Boost your metabolism and let weight loss happen more naturally.