Just Say NO to Starvation

Just Say NO to Starvation

The word, “Diet” is defined as:

any severe restriction of food or calories that’s temporary.

Conventional diets usually call for low calorie consumption:

  • 800 to 1200 or less for women.
  • 1500 to 1800 or less for men.
Just Say NO to Starvation
Just Say NO to Starvation

The Foils of Starvation

When you starve your body, your body begins to fight back by conserving energy — it slows down your metabolic rate, which in turn slows down fat loss.

Starving also forces your body to start cannibalizing muscle tissue for use as an energy source. This leads to a loss of muscle tone and shape. After time on a starvation diet, you will also become irritable, reduce mental focus and grow tired and weak. Your health becomes compromised and your immune system will be impaired due to an inadequate amount of health-promoting nutrients in your system. After a time, you will most likely binge and end up gaining all the pounds back only this time it is all fat, and usually more of it, too. Every time you go through this process, your metabolism is slower than ever because during the last episode, muscle was burned for energy. Thus, you have to eat even fewer calories to reduce pounds — you see the pattern?

Of course, if you proceed to restrict calories, you will lose weight. So, on the surface, it may sound simple. Just enter starvation mode and you can lose weight! But no one likes to walk around with a rumbling tummy all day.  There are other major problems with this simplistic approach.

  1. When you lose weight from starvation you’re unlikely to keep the weight off over an extended period of time.
  2. When you do lose weight this way, most of the weight lost is actually from your muscle mass, not fat.
  3. When you re-gain weight, it’s highly likely to be gained as fat (unless you’re on a kick butt weight lifting regime), replacing the muscle you lost in point 1.


The National Institute of Health says there are over 100 million Americans over weight. That equates to over 55 percent of the population. The Center for Disease Control reports a steady increase through the years in people considered clinically obese. Clinically obese is defined at least 30 percent over ideal body weight). These stats tell us that dieting alone just isn’t working.

The good news for you today is, diets fail. The human body is created with defense mechanisms that protect you from starvation. It’s physiologically impossible to permanently lose body fat with a low calorie diet. When your wonderfully made human body senses a food shortage, your defense mechanisms kick in to protect it. This is good news because it means you can just kick calorie restricting diets to the curb.

At this point we must note that there are situations in which calorie restriction is necessary or helpful. Whether or not this would apply to you is something you would have to ask your physician about; we are not qualified to assess that on an individual basis. Also, one area being researched is in the elderly. Studies are suggesting that as we become senior citizens, some calorie restriction may prolong the aging process.

The Human Defense Mechanism

Our body’s weight-regulating mechanism recognizes starvation and decreases energy expenditure to protect you.  This survival mechanism is known as the starvation response. In a nutshell, your body senses that it’s deprived of calories and consequently reacts as if to say, “It looks like this is all the food we’re going to be getting for a while, so we’d better stop burning so many calories and start saving energy“. Your body does this so it can survive longer on the smaller amount of food it’s being fed.

BUT – while starvation mode can save our lives, it wasn’t meant to be a permanent lifestyle. Our bodies let us know this if it continues too long.

Your body cannot tell the difference between dieting and starvation. Period.

Drastically cutting calories will ALWAYS send your body into the eventually dangerous starvation mode.

Why dangerous? There are many “side effects” of calorie restrictive dieting but the very first and very worst is that your metabolic rate will decline. Other repercussions on your body include:

  • Loss of muscle.
  • Increased fat storage.
  • Decrease in fat burning ability.
  • Decreased thyroid output.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Increased chance of gaining weight.
  • Decreased energy.

Fasting Can be Risky

Fasting could cause dehydration and dangerously low blood sugar levels, which can make you pass out. If you’re otherwise healthy and still drink water, 100 percent fruit juice, and no calorie beverages, you probably won’t suffer health consequences if you fast for only a day or two, or one day at a time every once in a while (not twice a week). But get your doctor’s OK first, and know that most of the weight lost will be water and muscle, not fat. Our advice: Forget fasting and make small changes you can live with for a lifetime.

Whatever choice you make in your journey to weight loss, always remember the good news – you not only need not, but should not starve yourself.

Finding a Weight Loss Program

Finding a Weight Loss Program That Works for You

Freebie: Weight Loss Guidance

We have a free PDF to offer you again! It’s called, “Finding a Weight Loss Program That Works for You“.

This free guide will give you some guidelines you can use if you’re having trouble choosing a weight loss program you think is just right for you. It’s only 9 pages, but contains all the helpful information, charts and worksheets you can use to help sort through confusion. It won’t take you long to read through it but you should learn a lot.

Finding a weight loss program that suits your lifestyle is tough. We try to make it a bit easier with this free guide. Do use the charts and worksheets, too. You may be surprised at just how helpful they are.

Finding a Weight Loss Program That Works for You
Finding a Weight Loss Program That Works for You

 

What is in the free guide for choosing a weight loss program?

The guide will assist you in:

  • How to get the answers you need.
  • Asking the right questions for your personal needs.
  • Rating your personal risk of being over weight.
  • Finding your body mass index (BMI).
  • Includes a Personal Health Profile Evaluation Checklist. This is a very helpful too in finding a weight loss program.
  • Evaluating weight loss products and services.

It’s free, so download now and see if it will help you! But remember, do utilize the worksheets. That is the best way to get the most out of it.

PS. NO there is NO sales pitch of ANY PRODUCT in the document! No catch, either. Strictly informational.  😉

 

Finding a Weight Loss Program That Works for You
Finding a Weight Loss Program That Works for You

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Six Signs of a Fad Diet

Six Signs of a Fad Diet

Want to lose weight but are confused by numerous books that promise the latest diet breakthroughs? Here are some tips from the American Heart Association (AHA) that can help you recognize a fad diet.

Fad diet
Fad diet

Say NO to a fad diet that advocates the following.

  1. Magic or miracle foods. Foods don’t burn or melt fat away. There are no foods that can undo the long term effects of overeating and lack of activity.
  2. Very Rapid weight loss. Sound weight loss plans aim for losing no more than one to two pounds per week. Studies show that gradual weight loss increases your success for keeping it off permanently. There is no fad diet that can accomplish this.
  3. No exercise. Simple activities like walking or riding a bike are important tools to losing and maintaining weight loss. Yet a fad diet won’t emphasize these easy changes. An increase in any daily activities that fit your lifestyle will help you to burn more calories.
  4. Bizarre quantities. Foods that are emphasized or others not allowed, such as unlimited amounts of cabbage soup or grapefruit.  Avoiding dairy or carbohydrate rich foods, should raise concern. Forbidding certain foods or entire food groups, in addition to being unhealthy, may increase the likelihood that you will cheat, binge or just give up on the diet.
  5. Specific food combinations – Eating the wrong combination of foods does not cause them to produce toxins or turn to fat. There is no scientific proof that combining specific foods enhances weight loss.
  6. Rigid menus – Limiting food choices and adhering to specific eating times is a daunting, unpleasant task. Rather, look for a plan that you can realistically follow for a lifetime. One that emphasizes a variety of grain foods, vegetables, fruits, lean meats and low-fat dairy products.

You may also like Finding a Weight Loss Program that Works for You.

FAT: It’s Not Always Bad!

Fat Facts

Experts agree that a healthy diet involves eating a variety of foods and keeping your fat intake to 30-percent or less of your total calories. Easier said than done? We will take a look at how simple it really is. But first, a word about fat.

Fat
Fat

All fats contain nine calories per gram, more than twice the calories in proteins and carbohydrates. One teaspoon of fat contains about 45 calories.

But not all fats are created equal. Fats can come from both animals and plants. Animal sources of fat are found in meat, poultry, fish, whole-milk dairy products, egg yolks, butter and lard. Plant sources of fat are found in shortening, margarine, nuts and vegetable oils.

Hidden fats (fats you may not see) are found in meat, poultry, fish, nuts and whole-milk dairy products, as well as in prepared foods and bakery products.

Bullet Unsaturated Fat

Unsaturated fats primarily come from plant sources.

Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature (unlike saturated fats, which usually are hard).

Polyunsaturated fat is found in oils such as corn, sunflower, safflower, soybean and cottonseed. These oils, and foods made with them, tend to lower cholesterol levels when used in place of saturated fats in your diet.

Monounsaturated fat is found in oils such as canola, peanut and olive. Foods rich in monounsaturated fat also may promote heart health.

Bullet Trans Fatty Acids

Trans fatty acids may increase the risk of heart disease. Trans fat results when polyunsaturated oil is partially hydrogenated in order to make it into stick margarine or solid shortening in a can. The bulk of trans fatty acids in the typical American diet are found in hydrogenated oils (used in crackers, baked goods, cereals and breads); fast foods such as French fries, fried fish and onion rings and margarine, especially stick margarine.

Recently, some researchers have suggested that we should eat butter instead of margarine because butter does not contain trans fatty acids. However, butter is saturated fat and does contain cholesterol. Both may increase your risk of heart disease, but since butter is all natural, if you must indulge, do watch amounts and perhaps go with the butter. Most margarine is made from vegetable fat and provides no dietary cholesterol. The more liquid the margarine (tub or liquid forms) the less hydrogenated it is and the less trans fatty acids it contains. Some margarine’s contain no trans fatty acids.

The American Heart Association recommends that consumers follow these tips:

  • Use naturally occurring, non-hydrogenated oil such as canola or olive oil when possible.
  • Look for processed foods made with non-hydrogenated oil rather than hydrogenated or saturated fat.
  • If using margarine as a substitute for butter, choose soft margarine’s (liquid or tub varieties) over harder, stick forms. Shop for margarine with no trans fatty acids, no more than two grams of saturated fat per tablespoon and with water or liquid vegetable oil as the first ingredient.
  • French fries, donuts, cookies and crackers are examples of foods that usually are high in trans fatty acids.

Bullet Saturated Fat

Saturated fat comes from animal sources, such as fatty red meats. It also can be found in plant sources.

Tropical oils such as palm, coconut and palm-kernel oils are vegetable-derived and found in many processed foods, especially commercially baked cookies, crackers and snack items. These oils are more saturated than lard.

High consumption of saturated fat is a major risk factor for the development of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Bullet What About Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is not the same as fat. Cholesterol is a waxy substance produced by animals that is found only in foods that come from animals. Sources of cholesterol include whole milk, dairy products, fatty meat, poultry, fish, butter, and lard and egg yolks.

Eating dietary cholesterol may raise blood cholesterol levels. However, the body also makes cholesterol when a person eats foods that are high in saturated fat. Saturated fat often is found in the very same foods as cholesterol. Remember that a diet high in saturated fats leads to high blood cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease and some cancers.

To control your cholesterol, get a cholesterol screening, eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly and follow all your healthcare professional’s recommendations.

Cholesterol Levels

  • Desirable — Less than 200 mg/dL
  • Borderline high risk — 200 to 239 mg/dL
  • High risk — 240 mg/dL and over

Bullet How Much Fat Do I Need?

It is neither possible nor desirable to eliminate all fat from your diet. Fat helps maintain healthy skin and hair. It helps your body digest and absorb fat-soluble vitamins (such as A, D, K and E). It also regulates cholesterol levels and stores the body’s excess calories.

Eating too much fat, especially saturated fat, can be a health problem. But how much fat is too much? Fat requirements are based on calorie needs. It is recommended that you get no more than 30-percent of your daily calories from fat. You can determine your calorie needs by multiplying your desired weight by 12 (multiply by 10 if you are trying to lose weight). Most moderately active women need between 1,800 and 2,000 calories. Most average men between 2,200 and 2,400 calories.

Your calorie needs depend on your age, sex, and overall body size and activity level. You will know that you are taking in the right amount of calories to match your current amount of activity when your weight is being maintained at a healthy level. Consuming too many calories or getting too little physical activity will cause weight gain. You may become overweight.

Determine Your Fat Intake

To determine your desired fat intake, drop the last “0” from your calorie intake and divide by three. For example, if you determine your calorie needs to be 1,800, dropping the last “0” gives you 180. 180 divided by 3 = 60. A person eating 1,800 calories a day needs no more than 60 grams of fat to stay healthy.

The American Heart Association’s Nutrition Committee recommends that healthy Americans over age two limit their daily intake of saturated fat to less than 10-percent of total calories and total fat intake to no more than 30-percent of calories. This recommendation equals a daily intake of fats and oils of about five to eight teaspoons.

So you see, fat isn’t ALL bad! 🙂

Weight Loss Fat Loss

Weight Loss Fat Loss

To make things worse in the world of fitness and weight loss, you’ll often read about weight loss – only to turn around and find yourself reading about fat loss. Weight loss fat loss …

Is there a difference? Yes, there is.

Weight loss fat loss?
Weight loss fat loss?

Weight loss and fat loss are not only confusing subjects, they can be conflicting and enormous amount of “advice” floating around from “experts” can be contradictory. This can lead to major mind turmoil for just about anyone. So much so, a person can easily wind up giving up before long.

Consider this: You can take a diuretic and lose 5 pounds of so-called weight off your scale over night. But have your REALLY lost any body fat? Your body is 70 percent water, so no, you didn’t. You just drained it of vital fluids.

A general guideline to follow is anything that creates a fast drop in poundage is nothing more than “weight loss fat loss”. And this “weight loss” can also damage muscle. Oftentimes this type of weight loss can be bad for your health. Be careful.

Fat loss, on the other hand, takes time. You need patience and perseverance. But with every day you’ll feel a bit better, become a bit leaner and find that you’ll reap rewards you can FEEL (very important) in short order. This will motivate you! And when those jeans are suddenly lose around your waist and you need to put another hole in that belt you bet you’ll be smiling! Even if the scale doesn’t appear to be budging.

Weight Loss Fat Loss Can Intermingle.

Hopefully you can now clearly see how weight loss fat loss are not the same thing. Your goal should be losing fat while maintaining muscle. As long as your body has solid muscle, you needn’t worry as much about what the scale says. The ratio of muscle to fat in your body counts for more. You can weigh in at a very lean 5’7″, muscle-intense 140 pounds and wear a size 8, whereas another woman who is more “flabby”, also around 5’7″, would weigh in at 140 and be a size 12!

So basically, when you lose weight, it’s really FAT you want to lose. The best way to do this is to replace fat with muscle. Muscle will keep burning fat ’round the clock, too. Even while you’re asleep.

The 3 most common answers I get when I ask people what their fitness goals are:

  1. Lose weight.
  2. Be stronger.
  3. Feel better with more energy.

Those are fine; however, you should zero in on your goals and be more specific. Determine a “weight loss fat loss” goal in specific pounds. Determine a “be stronger” goal along with “feel better” in gaining strength and endurance that allows you to easily skip up a flight of stairs without becoming a bit out of breath.

Where to begin losing fat?

Lifting Barbell Weights
Of course, exercise. You don’t need to follow “no pain no gain” approach, but you should work your muscles to the point you feel “stiff” and a bit on the sore side. Don’t think of it as “sore” though, think of it as STRENGTHENING. Visit our exercise section for a myriad of ideas on different exercises you can perform for strength gains. Try to do muscle gaining exercise every week – at least 3 times, about 20 minute per session, okay? On alternate days, get in a walk or other form of cardio exercise you enjoy for 20 to 30 minutes per session. Housework, lawn mowing, gardening all count, too!

In your diet you should try to:
Fruits and Vegetables

    • Reduce saturated fat.
    • Cut trans fat.
    • Reduce refined sugars.
    • Eat a variety of natural foods (fruits, vegetables).
    • Eat plenty of fiber.
    • Eat small, frequent meals.
    • Stay hydrated.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has established guidelines for healthy weight loss. Their recommendation for a weight loss goal is 1 to 2 pounds per week. This is very reasonable and more importantly, very doable for anyone. It also helps you achieve permanent, healthful weight loss.

Some fitness gurus will tell you to sit down, write out goals, do this and do that. Well, if you feel something like that will work for you, go for it. However, for those not inclined to this type of approach, one little note jotted down and kept near you – repeated until ingrained in your mind – DOES help:

I can accomplish virtually anything I set my mind to.