The Dangers of Serial Dieting Some Weight Loss Strategies Can be Ineffective Recently Oprah revealed discovery of thyroid issues effecting her weight issues. Can you imagine a person having seen multiple doctors, none of whom checked her thyroid! She discussed stress as a primary cause and the need to balance her life. Diet foods, low fat , lack of regular resistance workouts ,heavy metal toxicity, digestive issues, sub-clinical thyroid problems can all contribute to the inability to maintain healthy body composition. We invite you to listen to the audio interview on this page: Stress Solutions with host Jay Cruz on "The Pursuit of Happiness" The following article is revised from an earlier published edition. Spring really will arrive Many of us dread losing the safe cover of winter clothing. With the arrival of warmer weather, we are faced with wearing less clothing and confronting the appearance of out of shape bodies. Unfortunately many of us play out the same scenario year after year. We “go on” diets and become serial dieters with great and even dangerous detriment to ourselves. We mistakenly think about the need to lose weight, enroll in one of the multi-billion dollar weight loss franchises –again- purchase “diet foods” and possibly engage in some form of aerobic exercise and become “serial dieters.” We are earnest about removing the dreaded fats and carbs allegedly causing our weight problems and we know that if we tough it out and stick with the program, we will lose some pounds and perhaps feel better about ourselves. Eating synthetic and processed diet foods not only adds to our body’s burden of toxic chemicals, but also to cravings because we just are not getting the nutrients needed to satisfy hunger, build and repair tissue or sustain energy. We may even reach our goal. What could be wrong with that? Our body’s innate intelligence will not permit us to continue this low calorie, nutrient deficient program indefinitely and we will most likely resume our old eating patterns due to diet fatigue, fatigue caused by the release of toxins, increased nutritional deficiencies, literal starvation and resultant emotional stresses and probably soon regain even more weight than we lost. Too often we discover that we now have even less muscle because our body’s inner wisdom had directed our physiology to burn our muscle tissue to provide the protein necessary for normal repair. That's self cannibalism It has been estimated that thirty% of weight loss is often lost from muscle. Muscle is the critical component required to raise metabolism to burn fat calories. Recall that your heart is primarily muscle. The only way the weight loss can be retained is to remain deficient in calories, especially protein requirements. Because muscle is so important it makes sense to preserve what we have and even add some. For our purposes body composition includes the mass of bone, muscle and fat. Body composition is used to assess health and disease risk. Body Mass Index refers to the difference between the fat mass and non-fat mass of the body. One assessment tool is the BMI or Body Mass Index based on height and weight and is used to measure body fatness. Calculate your body mass at www.consumer.gov/weightloss/bmi.htm..
The American College of Sports Medicine currently recommends a range of 10-22% body fat for adult males and 20-32% for females. That means a BMI measurement of 24 or less for women and 35 or below for men. A five foot five inch women weighing 144 pounds has a BMI of 24. She is not stick thin. Women should have a waist measurement no greater than 32 inches and men no greater than 35 inches. The greater your waist measurement, the greater your risk for serious health consequences from the metabolically active belly fat. All processed food, including hydrogenated and poor quality, overheated fats, synthetic sweeteners and substitutes for real whole food must, by default cause inflammatory responses. It is now known that inflammation is involved in every degenerative disease and promotes premature Aging. It is no wonder that Americans’ health status is ranked at about twenty-fifth meaning that some so-called third world countries have a healthier ranking. Consider our dietary habits, lack of weight bearing exercise and being super stressed on a daily basis and it is easy to conclude that there will be a trend towards degenerative diseases, often beginning with a diagnosis of the now epidemic type two diabetes. If you have excess belly fat (waist measurement), are over-fat, you can be sure that you’re headed for insulin resistance and inflammation leading to storage of excess fat and suppression of your own immune system’s ability to function. Along with insulin resistance there will be a tendency for high blood glucose, elevated blood pressure, low HDL (good cholesterol) high LDL (bad cholesterol) and triglycerides and high levels of other blood markers for inflammation. Improving body composition is more about losing fat mass and gaining muscle mass, which is very different from weight loss as described above. All of the above problems and more are to a major extent the consequences of unhealthy body composition consisting of too few muscle cells and too many fat cells. Genetic endowment is seldom the problem as we know that the food compounds found in whole foods can switch the expression of genes on or off. Your relatives may be overweight but you are not doomed. I thought I would get that issue out of the way early on. The proven method to compose a healthier body comes in the form of effective lifestyle and dietary changes. A modified Mediterranean diet consisting of whole foods needs to be plant based: vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, seeds, protein and healthy fats. Fat loss and healthy cells require healthy fats. Yes, we must eat healthy fat in order to lose fat. A plant- based diet will provide some healthy fat and even some of the required omega-3 oils. The best source of the mandatory Omega-3 oils containing EPA and DHA is a safe form of fish oil. Numerous studies conclude that consumption of fish oil reduces all-cause mortality risk. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16825676v
Fish oil reduces inflammation, helps with concentration, helps quell hunger and balances blood fats. Good riddance to dangerous low fat diets , Because traditional aerobics won’t build muscle and because we need more muscle cells to up-regulate our fat burning metabolism it becomes obvious that we need weight-bearing exercise to increase our muscle mass and a favorable body composition. There is no requirement for gym membership or expensive equipment. There are numerous DVDs, books, websites and magazines to get you started. It is important to find a form of resistance exercise that you will do on a consistent basis. I purchased an inexpensive machine because that’s what it takes for me to be consistent and I actually like my workouts---most of the time. Composing a better body composition through Resistance (weight-bearing) exercise lowers blood insulin levels and allows lipase, a fat burning enzyme to function normally. Improving lifestyle helps normalize various hormones and has a positive effect on cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, mood and sleep and has the potential to slow accelerated aging. Our bones get healthier and stronger, inflammatory processes decline, energy and concentration improve ,and emotional health improves. In fact, one study demonstrated that after 12 weeks of resistance exercise there was a benefit equal to a commonly prescribed anti -depressant drug and after several months the exercise effect surpassed the effects of the drug. mentalhealth.about.com/cs/mindandbody/a/exercisedep.htm
We have discussed the problems associated with traditional diets, diet foods and serial dieting failure. Prudent lifelong healthy lifestyle modifications aimed at body composition eliminates stressful dieting. We know the importance of body composition and how to determine our BMI. We have mentioned that there are many issues contributing to success and failure of lifestyle habits. We know the importance of healthy body composition, and how to begin to compose a better body through weight bearing exercise and whole foods diet. I intentionally neglected to add a list of the many helpful whole food and herbal supplements available as aids. First of all the scope of this article is limited. The primary reason is that everyone has unique circumstances and needs. For instance, one person may require digestive repair, another may have grave toxicity and metal issues, thyroid issues, blood pressure issues and/or fatigue. Anyone can sell you supplements and weight loss programs. I want to “sell you” a priceless method to improve overall health and lose the fat by coaching you on composing a healthier body. Start now and your improved musculature, bones and even balance might later prevent the nursing homes from acquiring your hard earned life’s work and assets. Now go put on that short- sleeved shirt and shorts. As always, please consult your medical physician before starting any exercise program Patricia Margaitis PhD DAAIM BCNC LCSW Visit: www.healthonyourmind.com
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