Need a reason not to diet? How about Adaptive thermogenesis. Say what?!
Simply put, adaptive thermogenesis is a process your body goes through to adjust, heat production, to a low or high calorie diet. Most people never think what the effects of a weight loss diet are on their body, other than, of course, fantasizing about the jeans they will look great in, showing off the soon to be attained 6 pack, or how amazing they’ll look naked.
While these goals are the reason for the diet, when we restricting food intake (calories) and eliminate food groups(nutrients) we are indirectly setting ourselves up to fail. I bet you think I must be crazy, why would anyone intentionally set out to fail? Well, they wouldn’t. but unless we understand the workings of the body and things like adaptive thermogenesis we will likely carry on restricting calories and food groups in a rather futile effort to lose weight and keep it off.
When we restrict calorie intake to lose weight several things can happen.
1) Our metabolism (a chemical reaction in the body) slows down.
2) Our nutritional status can be negatively affected- depending how long the diet lasts and what is eaten
3) Our energy levels can bottom out.
These happen when we restrict our calories (also known as fuel for our body) because our bodies adapt by slowing how quickly we use the fuel. In essence ,our bodies become these super-efficient users of energy and as a result we can do the same activities but on less fuel.
Great, we lost weight!
Now the bummer.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Dietetics found that where a low calorie diet was followed for 8 weeks the effect on metabolism was slowed for up to one year (that’s how long the study was conducted for) making it harder to keep the weight off and easier to suffer rebound weight gain- often to a higher weight than before the diet started.
A simple illustration of the effects of low calorie diets might help.
Today- Start of diet weight 160 lbs
2 months – 140 lbs (great!)
1 year from start of diet- 164 a net gain of 4lbs not feeling so great now-totally frustratedl
I hope the above helps to inform you and I encourage you to join the anti-fad diet, anti-crash diet and anti- any diet movement. Long term- they simply don’t work. For the few who say they do, the nutritional consequences are not worth it. Instead, a better more full proof diet is a balanced diet with an increase in energy expenditure from exercise with a slight reduction of calories to attain a healthy sustainable weight loss. No more than 1-lbs/wk or 1kg/wk.
It is not what we do in the short term that affects our health, rather it’s what we do consistently over time. You may have read Victor’s post talking about including more dietary fibers e in his diet. This is intended to be a long term lifestyle choice – that will have no immediate or noticeable results – but over the long term will be beneficial to his overall health.
Rather than going on a ‘diet’, consider including some healthy foods into your diet and try some exercises. There is absolutely no instant gratification and after 1 year you may be 5 lbs. lighter, but you will be healthy and happy all the way. Your body will thank you.
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