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Mar 6, 2011

Why do Most Diets Fail?

DITCH that diet and CHANGE your Life!

Here’s a statistic that is enough to blow your mind: There are (at any given time) 30 million diets on the market today…YES, 30 Million Diets on the Market!!! Isn’t it strange that with so many diets to choose from, we are undeniably the fattest country on the planet? Simply put, diets don’t work.

Dieting Defined

First let’s define the word.
  1. Diet (nutrition), the sum of the food consumed by an organism or group,
  2. Diet, eating habits, pattern of eating or nutritional regime, and
  3. Diet, the deliberate selection of food to control body weight or nutrient intake.
For the sake of argument, we’ll go with the third definition. To reduce one’s caloric intake would ideally cause one to lose weight. According to the law of thermodynamics, Energy IN must be less than Energy OUT for one to lose weight. Unfortunately, all too many diets so drastically reduce calories that the body will adjust it’s metabolic rate to deal with fewer calories (meaning little or no weight loss). Initially, most calorie reduction diets will result in some weight loss but it will slow and even reverse in a very short adaptive period. *

Why Didn’t My Last Diet Work?

Most diets teach us to reduce our calories by completely eliminating a major food group. Think of Atkins (no carbs), Pritiken (no fat or greatly reduced fat) and of course there are vegetarian diets which eliminate animal protein. The physiological fact of the matter is…we Human’s are Omnivores (animals that feed on many different types of food, including BOTH plant and animal). The elimination of a basic food group is not sensible or physiologically sound and worse, impossible to follow for any length of time. Imagine all the steak and butter you can eat…wait, what good is butter if you don’t have anything to put it on?! Boredom and feelings of deprivation are the reasons that diets fail (coupled with hunger).

Weight Loss Plateau

*The Proverbial Plateau (weight-loss paradox): If you begin eating 2,500 calories per day then your metabolism will adjust itself so that your body begins burning 2,500 calories per day.
If you decide to try to starve yourself by suddenly eating 1,000 calories per day then your metabolism will again ADJUST ITSELF so that your body begins to burn only 1,000 calories per day. That’s why you have failed in your past dieting attempts, and why you fail when you starve yourself.
This is known as the Exercise/Weight Loss Paradox. Let’s suppose that 2,000 calories is your maintenance daily caloric intake:Oops key.
  • 2000 Calories (maintenance intake)
  • + Exercise/physiological
  • adaptations to workload: + 500 Calories
  • Total Calories burned/day: = 2500 Calories
Thus a 500-calorie deficit is created (you’re burning 2500, but only taking in 2000)
… but over time …
500 Original Starting Deficit…
  • – 250 Lost when adaptation phase ends
  • = 250 Now your deficit is only 250 (down from the original 500 – above)
  • – 100 Lost from increased cardiopulmonary efficiency (lower RMR – resting metabolic rate)
  • = 150 Deficit goes down again
  • - 100 15 lb. net weight loss (ideally no muscle loss)
  • = 50 Even smaller deficit
  • - 90 Loss of metabolic activity of 15 lb. body fat
  • + 40 Leading to possible weight gain or at least an eventual plateau
Adaptation is when the body “gets used to” the stresses of modified diet and/or exercise, thus less calories are needed to complete previous same/similar tasks. Because of the body’s ability to maintain stasis, change must be continual and the diet must be sensible. So what does THAT mean?

The Human Eater

Humans are periodic eaters. Simply put, it means we don’t have to eat constantly. Consider birds. With their extremely high metabolisms, they must eat almost constantly to maintain energy and life. We, however have the ability to utilize our calories in a very efficiently through many systems not the least of which is something called the Krebs Cycle. The Krebs cycle is at the base of our metabolism and it allows us to efficiently utilize our calories for several hours before needing to refuel.
Several hours is the key however. How do we begin to eat sensibly without incurring boredom and hunger? Let’s start with breakfast. YES…breakfast!! Let’s compare your body with your automobile. Imagine you go out to your car, put the key in the ignition, turn the key and….nothing! What? Oh yeah, you forgot to put gas in the tank! Silly you! How do you expect your car to take you places without fuel? Let’s think…are we that much different than our cars? You change and add oil, you fill up the tank with gas and even additives for better mileage. You maintain the correct water and radiator fluid levels and air in the tires. You periodically take your baby to the mechanic for a tune-up.
My analogy: without fuel (proper nutrition) you won’t “run” either. After a good 6-8 hours of sleep, you have literally been fasting although your metabolism has continued to run. When you arise and begin your day coupled with all the stress that comes with it and DON’T re-fuel, it’s a recipe for disaster ESPECIALLY if you are trying to lose weight.
BREAKFAST!! or… a Day without Breakfast is Like a Day Without Breakfast!
In effect, eating breakfast literally jump starts your day and revs up that metabolism. Many humans “sludge out” their metabolisms by not eating enough! I’m going to repeat that because you need to hear it again, “EATING SPEEDS UP YOUR METABOLISM!” Isn’t that awesome? When your mom told you to eat your breakfast she knew what she was talking about. I know, I know, we don’t ever want to admit that mom was right but breakfast IS the most important meal of the day!
“But eating breakfast makes me hungry all day,” you say. “GREAT!” I say. If you’re hungry more frequently that means your metabolism is revving on all cylinders. “Then what?” you say. “EAT!” I say. Yes, you should eat at least 4 times per day but ideally 5-6 times per day.
For the Birds
Let’s go back to our little friends, the birds. Although we don’t need to eat constantly to stay alive, we should eat regularly for good energy, less hunger and metabolic “zoom zoom zoom.” When your energy is good, you’re not hungry and craving things you don’t need and your metabolism is revved up, you will become much more efficient at losing those extra pounds.

A Simple Plan

Breakfast is a must! Don’t whine, just listen. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Something as simple as a piece of wheat toast with a smear of peanut butter and a small glass of skim milk is one way. Even if you must eat on the run, there are meal replacement bars and shakes that will do nicely.
Mid-morning blahs? No problem! Have an apple and a piece of string cheese. Snacks are good and when your friends an co-workers see you eating all the time AND losing weight they’ll be totally jealous!
Lunch time…yipeeeee! How about a turkey and swiss on light wheat bread with a 1/2 cup of grapes… yumm! Not into sandwiches, try a salad….plenty of protein and light on the cheese and dressing please (pre-made salads such as pasta or potato salads must NOT apply).
Afternoon snack…stay away from that vending machine and come up with your own snack. Be creative. How about a lite or fat free yogurt with a small handful of almonds or sunflower seeds stirred in. The idea is to keep you from becoming so famished that you go home and begin to stuff everything not nailed down into your mouth.
Dinner should be relaxed. If alcohol is your nemesis, don’t throw it out all together. Have a small glass of wine, go ahead. Notice I said “A” small glass. Dinner should be interesting and beautiful. Go easy on the sauces and butter and extras. Always make it colorful (include your veggies please) and use herbs for flavoring. Remember this one rule. If you go to bed at 11:00 the kitchen should be closed by 8:00. If you go to bed at 10:00 then 7:00 is your cut-off! You’ll sleep better, your metabolism will love you and you’ll wake up WANTING breakfast. Let the day begin!

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