We’ve all seen the statements highlighted in eye catching bold text from various ‘diet solution’ companies: ‘LOSE 30LBS IN 2 WEEKS!!’ and ‘DROP 3 DRESS SIZES IN A MONTH!!’. Impressive statements, right? Well, no. Unfortunately there are major pitfalls associated with fad diets which often focus on extreme calorie restriction including the much cited yo-yo effect, long term metabolic damage and ending up with a higher body fat percentage than you started with.
For those of you that have been enticed by the quick fix offered by these diets, and let’s face it, which mortal soul wouldn’t be as on the face of things they appear to be a god send, you’ve probably encountered some, if not all of the pitfalls mentioned above.
The major issue prominent with these diets is extreme calorie restriction and quite often the calories that you are allowed can only be consumed (rather conveniently) via said diet proprietors meal replacement shakes. When undertaking these diets you will find initially that you will lose weight rapidly over the first few weeks, perhaps even months. Be aware that I said WEIGHT loss as opposed to FAT loss. However as the body becomes accustomed to the calorie restriction you begin to plateau. Human beings being human beings will get sick of being starved (quite rightly) and will gradually get back to consuming a higher amount of calories. Now bare in mind the human body will look to preserve itself, so, when going back to pre-diet lifestyle not only will the weight pile back on, there’s a likelihood of storing more body fat as the body will believe it needs it for survival. Another factor in the saga is that quite often people who’ve endured these diets end up with a higher body fat percentage than they started with, even if they’ve rebounded to same weight or less. The reason being that with the nutritional restriction, muscle tissue is often cannibalised during the process of an extreme diet, meaning that as the weight creeps back up, it’s generally fat.
For those that bounce backwards and forwards with extreme diets there is also the issue of potentially causing metabolic damage. This is a scenario where the metabolism has been damaged to the extent that even extreme dieting and exercise won’t shift any weight. Many, many people (women in particular) are in this situation after jumping from one dieting fad to the next. The good news is that metabolic damage can be repaired over time with a sound nutritional plan and patience, however there are people who don’t realise this and when they are fed up of not getting anywhere just give up on their wellness altogether, don’t be that person!
If you’re planning on dieting to lose some body fat and have been considering an extreme diet, I hope some of the information here has given you reason to pause for thought. I’m not going to write out any specific diets here as every individual has a different case, what I will do however is outline some points to get you set off in the right direction.
- Do your homework: Many people fall for the promise of rapid weight loss because they aren’t educated on health and nutrition. The internet is full of wonderful resources that can help you achieve the results you’re looking for safely. One great resource would be http://www.bodybuilding.com – don’t be put off by the bodybuilding line, this is a great site full of useful information to help get you started. The motivation section is full of inspiring body transformations from individuals who’ve done things the right way.
- Eat more, not less: Most people who’ve been considering extreme dieting can’t get their heads around this. The fact is that having small, frequent (clean) meals throughout the day will stimulate the metabolism and aid in your fat loss quest.
- Eat fat to lose fat: A common misconception is that fat should not be eaten if you’re looking to lose weight, this however couldn’t be further from the truth. Ensuring an intake of healthy, essential fatty acids such as extra virgin olive oil, omega 3,6,9, flaxseed oil, nuts such as almonds and others will help regulate hormone levels and keep that all important metabolism working away on your behalf.
- Do some resistance work: Anybody who’s worked in the fitness profession has heard a lady say “I don’t want to do any resistance or I’ll end up looking like a bodybuilder” or a guy utter “I’m only going to do cardio for now so I can lose weight first before I bulk up”. Both statements are a mile off. Bulking up and looking like a bodybuilder requires a specific training and eating regime, much like losing body fat and getting healthy requires the same. Incorporating resistance training into your plan will build SOME muscle, yes but this will help with your fat loss goal as well as help you craft the leaner look you desire.
Dave Miller is a wellness and self development writer, former health club owner and entrepreneur. If you would like to discuss Dave contributing content to your media outlet he can be contacted via email at email@example.com
- Metabolic Adaptation. Why Extreme Low Calorie Diets Suck. (jackmyfitplan.wordpress.com)