By now many of you are starting to get really serious about your weight loss program for the new year.
You’ve probably been listening to your friend’s stories about how much weight they have lost on their new diet. You’ve been reading the latest diet books. You’ve been searching the internet for the latest diet fads.In short, you’ve been checking out all of the latest fad diets.
And all of these diets sound so good. They promise weight loss secrets that nobody else knows about. They promise that you won’t even know that you are on a diet. And they make all of those promises sound so scientific.
As I said last week, there is no “magic” diet program. There is no “magic” diet food. There is no “magic” diet pill.
It’s all about calories in and calories out. It’s all about adopting a healthier lifestyle that you can stick to for a lifetime.
But one thing I did not talk about last week was how fast you should plan to lose your weight.
If a diet promises that you will lose 5 or 10 pounds in your first week and 10 to 20 pounds in your first few weeks should you choose it?
On the flip side, if you start a diet and only lose a pound or two a week should you feel frustrated? Should you feel like a failure?
Heck, you probably know the answer to that question already. I’ll bet you’ve heard expert after expert say that a safe, sensible diet should lead to 1 or 2 pounds of weight loss a week.
On an intellectual level you already know that a diet that leads to rapid weight loss may not be safe in the short run and is probably not sustainable in the long run.
But on an emotional level it is so hard to resist the lure of rapid weight loss!
So in this e-health newsletter, I thought it might be important to give you three reasons why you should avoid those diets that promise rapid weight loss.
#1: Rapid weight loss causes your “starvation response” to kick in!
With a fast food restaurant on every corner in today’s world it’s hard to imagine that we even have a “starvation response”.
But you have to remember that we evolved in a world in which you had to chase down your dinner, hit it over the head with a club and drag in back to your cave.
In that world you might have to go weeks with just a few berries and roots to eat – especially if you were as handy with a club as I am.
Because of our beginnings, we are all hardwired with a starvation response that dramatically reduces our metabolic rate whenever the calories in our daily diet decrease significantly.
The “starvation response” was a lifesaver when we were cavemen (and cave women), but it just causes frustration when you are trying to lose weight.
#2: Rapid weight loss causes you to lose muscle mass.
That’s because your brain needs glucose to function. Fat cannot be metabolized to glucose, but muscle protein can.
Because protein burns calories more rapidly than fat the loss of muscle mass decreases your metabolic rate even more.
When you combine the “starvation response” with the loss of muscle mass your metabolic rate decreases to such a great extent that you often encounter the all too familiar weight loss plateau.
Now, as hard as you try, you just can’t seem to lose any more weight.
#3: Rapid weight loss is almost never sustainable in the long run.
You’ve cut calories so dramatically that you feel hungry all of the time (and probably grumpy as well).
You can’t imagine this as a permanent part of your lifestyle – and it almost never is.
That’s why most experts recommend that you aim for a calorie deficit of just 500 calories per day.
Since 2500 calories is approximately equivalent to one pound, that’s just over one pound of weight loss per week.
If you add a 30 minute/day exercise program to burn off~300 calories/day you will approach 2 pounds of weight loss per week.
So if you want to lose that weight and keep it off, learn to get excited about 1 to 2 pounds of weight loss per week …
…and avoid all of those fad diets that promise more rapid weight loss!
To Your Health!
Dr. Stephen G Chaney
Shaklee Master Coordinator