The truth about crash dieting
6th September, 2012
The modern western world has experienced an explosion in a whole range of diets from the grapefruit diet, low-carb/no-carb diet, high protein, combination diet, point’s diets, pre-prepared meals…and the list goes on and on and on!
The truth is however that the body simply needs the right balance of food intake to run at its optimum level in terms of fat burning and weight maintenance and this figure is different for each individual. It is dependent on your weight, height, the amount of physical activity you do and of course your own BMR (basal metabolic rate).
Simply put when too much food is consumed, the body doesn’t know what to do with the excess intake of calories and therefore converts the excess into fat and stores it for a rainy day but in our modern society that rainy day doesn’t come. Similarly however when too little food is consumed, for example with crash dieting, having skimpy meals or skipping meals the body interprets this reduction of calories to mean that the person is faced with a period of starvation and therefore seeks to preserve the current fat levels as much as possible, again saving it for a rainy day! It does this by lowering the BMR (the rate at which your body uses up energy to keep the heart pumping, lungs expanding and contracting etc).
What lots of people don’t realise is that this change in lowered BMR can continue beyond the period of ‘dieting’ which means that when the person goes back to their increased calorie intake the body’s new lower BMR leads to more weight gain resulting in a yo-yo effect.
When crash dieting the body feels deprived of food so its instinct is to binge eat when seeing an opportunity to eat. Many people put this binge eating behaviour down to their ‘lack of willpower’ when it is actually down to their innate physiological programming of the body, deprivation of food = seek food = binge eat episode!
At the beginning of a crash diet people may claim to lose many pounds with the early stages but what is actually lost is mainly fluid and muscle tissue rather than fat. The fluid that is lost comprises of substances that would otherwise provide the body with ‘instant energy’ but because this is lost the person is usually left feeling tired, irritable and sometimes even depressed.
The safest and simplest way to achieve weight reduction is to combine suitable exercise with the right calorific intake for your body based on your own BMR. Making simple changes by reducing your portions sensibly and in line with your body’s true needs is something that can be easily achieved. If you want to know more about how to focus your mind on portion control or how to increase your BMR for maximum results then speak with your local hypnotherapist.
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