There is another round of hoopla over the reality show The Biggest Loser and the extreme weight loss of their contestants. It is well deserved. You cannot safely and permanently lose 239 pounds in 7 months. Slashing calories to lose weight is always a bad idea. Here is why:
- Not eating enough causes metabolic damage.
- When we are calorie deficient our body will use muscle for energy and cling more tightly to fat.
- Dieting is stressful for both our body and our mind and when we are stressed we produce cortisol which increases fat, especially belly fat.
- When we are hungry we are more likely to feel tired and sluggish and less likely to move.
- If our weight loss program involves being hungry all the time we will eventually give it up. It just isn’t very fun being hungry!
- Hunger is a natural mechanism to make sure we eat, and eventually we will. Going without enough food is like holding your breath. Eventually you will breathe and when you do you will gulp in all you can.
Food is not the enemy! Food is the solution! The way to get results is to change WHAT we eat and WHEN we eat it.
Here are few tips to get you started:
- Eating increases metabolism so eat first thing in the morning and get that metabolism fired up.
- Because eating increases metabolism eat often – every 2 1/2 – 3 hours. (Note: Because we have been erroneously trained to believe that eating makes us fat this will be scary at first).
- Eat from all three of the macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat each meal.
- Eat only food you recognize as food. Do not eat sugar, artificial sweeteners, pasta, processed foods, soda, weight loss shakes and bars, chemicals, etc. If it doesn’t have a parent or grow in the ground, do not put it in your mouth.
- Be patient. Your body will wait to make sure you are serious before it will let go of those extra pounds. How many years did it take you to accumulate that weight? Is it really reasonable to expect to take it off in a few weeks or months? Eating is a slower way to lose weight but it is the only way to lose it permanently.
Eating this way still takes discipline but it is the discipline of planning rather than forcing yourself to do something as unnatural as going hungry. So eat! But eat real food and fewer science experiments.
Here are a couple of sources for your reading enjoyment: