Have you had a history of unsuccessful dieting attempts? Are you stuck in the dreaded “yo-yo dieting” cycle? Understanding how your body functions is the first step in breaking free and achieving long term sustained Weight Loss.
The human body is designed to hold onto weight rather than wave it goodbye which makes long term and sustained weight loss a huge challenge. When starting a new diet your daily intake is dramatically reduced meaning your body is getting less energy throughout the day to perform many of its tasks like digesting food, repairing damages cells and transporting nutrients around the body. It therefore needs to draw on energy from other sources like ‘energy rich’ fat stores. Unfortunately for many dieters the human body doesn’t enjoy this process and would much prefer to hold onto its fat stores, and will go to great lengths to achieve this.
So how does our body react?
The body responds by reducing its Metabolism rate. Metabolism is simply the amount of energy our body uses to perform necessary bodily functions every day. A defence system the body has is to reduce this Metabolism rate by doing things more efficiently and thus burning less energy. As your Metabolism slows it makes weight loss more difficult. This will happen in some degree to everyone who is on a diet and it creates a twofold problem.
Firstly, you will find that the rate of weight loss you once enjoyed slows down significantly and can even stop or go the opposite way. This is tough to take when it seems you have done nothing wrong! Secondly (and this is where it really sucks!), if you return to the same quantity of food you were eating prior to your diet your Metabolism does not respond straight away. Therefore the equation reads [‘your pre diet intake’ + ‘slowed metabolism’ = ‘weight gain’]. Sometimes the weight put back on after a diet can exceed the weight that was lost meaning the end result of all your toil is a gain in weight. The term “yo-yo dieting” is used to describe a repetition of this process, with many people stuck in this type of dieting all because they are unaware of how their body functions.
Fad diets are doomed to fail because of simple physiology and there is lots of research showing that most diets result in WEIGHT GAIN not WEIGHT LOSS. There are, however, ways to increase your chance of successful weight loss. Following are some helpful tips that all dieters should know.
Here are a few tips to maximise your chance of successful long-term weight loss:
- Take your focus off the scales. The scales are bad way of judging the success of your diet- success should be judged based on healthy changes to your eating habits, how you feel within yourself, and how your clothes feel on you.
- Change needs to be achievable. Taking small steps it the best way to get big results. You only have so much will power and this will quickly burnt out if you set extreme restrictions.
- There will be bumps. Accepting the fact that you will stumble from time to time is important. Weight loss is not easy and having a bad day or week does not mean you have failed. When this happens, accept what you have done and move on- don’t throw the towel in!
- Slow and steady. The rate of weight loss should not exceed 0.5kg to 1kg per week. If you try and lose weight quicker than this, the chances are you are losing weight in body fluid and muscle mass, and your body will react by slowing its metabolism. The aim is to lose FAT!
- Get help from an expert. An Accredited Practising Dietitian is the best qualified to help you lose weight and keep it off. A Dietitian will provide you with the skills to overcome obstacles and will assist you in achieving realistic and effective strategies that will help you break free from the “yo-yo dieting” cycle.