Diets Work and Diets Don’t Work

If you have failed in the past with your weight loss efforts, whether from not losing the desired amount of weight or not maintaining your desired weight, it is often because the plan you had was not effective in the long-term, or your reason for losing weight was not strong enough. With a strong reason and a workable plan, you can gain success and most importantly, maintain the results.

Diets Work. Because of the caloric restriction of diets, your body will be made to use body fat stores for fuel (energy). The benefits of dieting are more evident in the early stages of weight loss. They are, however, difficult to maintain.

Diets don’t work. Dieting has no way to deal with metabolism, which has slowed in response to the diet. Whenever you start to burn stored energy, your body protects itself by becoming more efficient. This survival technique lowers metabolism when you are dieting. This is why your weight loss slows and eventually you hit a plateau. This can then lead to a state of continual dieting, which in turn leads to an even lower metabolism. That is why habitual dieters often increasingly fluctuate in body fat, the more they diet.

With an overall plan that maintains your metabolism, you will be free of the never-ending cycle of dieting.

Nutrition

It’s not only about the quantity of food that you eat, but also the quality of food. You literally are what you eat and every food either helps or hinders you. Once you realise this, you will start to become very careful about what you put into your body. Comparably, if you put inferior products (e.g. petrol and oil) into your car, your car will not perform as efficiently as if you use higher quality products.

It is commonplace for people to consume a large proportion of their calorie intake from what they drink. This is often in the form of high-sugar drinks such as soft drinks which provide no nutritional value and can also lead to increased fatness and diabetes. Another issue is that ‘drinking calories’ does not as effectively lead to the feeling of satiety (i.e. the feeling of having had enough to eat) compared to whole foods.

Exercise

Studies have shown that exercise not only helps to create a calorie deficit and therefore lose weight, but also enhances long term maintenance of weight loss. This will not only keep the weight off, you will have more energy to do the things that you love.

Aerobic training for fat loss

Aerobic exercise (also referred to as cardio-vascular exercise) is important in controlling your level of body fat and will help you increase the strength of your heart and lungs. It is recommended that you perform 270 minutes of aerobic activity per week for optimal weight loss. This can be less if you are performing interval-type training, but the intensity needs to be much higher. Any amount, however, is better than none at all. For body fat loss, consider what your calorie deficit requirement is and use a combination of your eating and aerobic exercise plan to accomplish this level.

Weight training for fat loss

Weight training, which is also referred to as resistance training, will help you maintain and/ or increase your body muscle mass, which in turn increases metabolism, therefore increasing the rate at which you can lose body fat. Your metabolism is the key to long-term weight maintenance and weight training is the best way to increase or at least maintain your metabolism. It is not necessary to do a lot of weight training. In fact, 2 sessions per week of 20 minutes each is enough to maintain your metabolism through the maintenance of your muscle mass, providing you work hard!

Adults who replace muscle tissue through sensible weight training use more calories all day long, thereby reducing the likelihood of fat accumulation. Increasing your muscle mass by just 1.5 kg will burn an additional 1 kg of fat every year simply by the increased metabolic effect of the muscle. And that’s at rest! The amount of fat burned will be even more with exercise.

Excuses

Even with increased efficiency in many aspects of our lives, we still use the excuse that we do not have enough time. Considering the amount of time we spend watching TV, on Facebook or playing computer games, it is more likely that we have developed poor time management, and fail to prioritise food preparation and exercise in our lives. I rarely meet anyone who can’t free up some time, often a substantial amount. It is all about priorities and making the best use of the time that you have.

Having a sensible and balanced plan will help you to reach and maintain your target weight, as well as allowing you to have a healthier life. Your success is a matter of a few simple disciplines, practised each day. You always have a choice. The key is to make the right choices most of the time.