Apart from the fact it has the word “die” in it, I don’t much like the word. Diet gives the impression of a temporary solution. We go on a diet suggesting we will come off it after a period of time. When we reach that end, the old habits and weight come flying back.
If you are on a diet you are losing weight for the here and now. If on the other hand you want to lose weight on a more permanent basis this is what I refer to as a “lifestyle change”.
Think long term, a permanent change. This is what you want to get out of this program as opposed to just wanting to lose weight for the moment.
Because dieting is for the short term, once we depart from it we gain back the weight as we fall back into our old eating habits. This leads to “Yo-Yo Dieting” as we go from one diet to the next in the hope that this is the solution to our weight problems we have been searching for.
Just like a Yo-Yo goes up and down so does our weight with each diet we embark upon.
Each diet has the same symptoms. We start out and experience quick results, hit a plateau, binge then gain back all the weight plus more.
Why do we gain all of the weight back plus extra? Our bodies have what we call a set point. Think of it as your body’s natural thermostat. It regulates your weight.
When you drop weight after starting your new diet, especially on diets that restrict caloric intake, your body goes into shock. Say your starting weight prior to commencing the diet was around 80 kilos.
You lose 3 kilos. Then you lose another 1 kilo. Suddenly your weight loss comes to grinding halt. You cut even more calories in the hopes of keeping the weight loss going but again, you lose nothing. By now you have restricted your calories so much that your body goes into self preservation, survival mode. This is where evolution as its finest kicks in.
Your body overrides you by making you sluggish and lethargic. You have the metabolism of a tortoise. You barely have enough energy to lift your own arm let alone your entire body to continue exercising.
Your body has taken over and thwarted your attempts to lose weight. You can’t work out to lose the kilos you simply don’t have the energy for and to top it off you have an increased appetite.
Your body is stimulating your appetite to make you gain back all of the weight you spent a lot of effort to lose. So not only do you eat, but you eat lots. Your body’s thermostat makes sure that your weight goes back to your original 80 kilos, in fact it doesn’t just stop there.
It makes you add a few extra kilos on top of that to store away for a rainy day. Because you put your body through trauma it thought it was starving, so it literally made you store extra fat for times of famine to safeguard you against losing any more weight again.
So there you have it, you just hurt your chances of losing weight by provoking your body into defence mode and making you gain extra weight.
It’s well documented that this happens which is how the phrase got to be coined as “Yo-Yo” dieting. Your weight goes down then it comes back up again and then some.
There is a way around Yo-Yo dieting and the secret lies in not shocking your body into retaliation but rather working in alignment with it. I’ll explain more on that a little later in this book.
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My name is Dave Hagger, founder of Seriously Fit Bootcamp
As a fitness professional I frequently meet people who want to lose weight but just have no idea where to start.