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I remember back when I was starting college, I had opted to lose weight with a dietician. I had put on quite a bit of weight due to almost zero physical activity during my 12th STD Board exams. Yes, I also sneaked in extra snacks to keep my mind from wandering away while cramming economic theories, statistical formulas, business laws and accounting standards.
This was my first time “Dieting”. (I did have a checkup with my family doctor prior to first day, to see if I can go along with dieting and I was on one-a-day multi-vitamin as well). My first dieting day started with a “Regular day” which I recall typically consisted of
A glass of skim milk in the morning with 2 Marie Biscuits,
1 fruit as mid-morning snack,
2 to 3 plain Rotis with 1 katori Subzi and 1 katori Daal (all this made with 1 tsp oil) as Lunch,
1 cup of tea with 1 cup of mamra as afternoon snack and then
Dinner (which was very similar to Lunch)
She would often throw in a Fruit Day after 2-3 Regular Days, where I would be on fruits or a particular fruit for whole day, usually allowing milk or curds with it. For instance, I would be on watermelon the entire day. My breakfast, lunch and dinner would consist of watermelon only.
And I started losing weight because of dieting. 🙂 After 3 months, I was down by total of 12-13 kg ( actually it was 15 kg, but last 15 days was maintenance or back to normal diet, in which I put on 2 kg, which was part of her “dieting” plan). So far so good! Actually it was great at first! I was getting compliments, my clothes fit me better, and I was gaining self-confidence! I had gone on a shopping spree and bought myself smaller clothes, and was so glad that the stores actually had something that fit me, and that was not the last size! I was on cloud nine for few lucky days…
AND I was not DIETING anymore! No, it wasn’t that I was over-eating or over-indulging in sweets or fried or junk food, I simply had gone back to my earlier ways of eating. No more fruit days or 1 tsp oil days. And if I had chance with an occasional bowl of ice-cream or packet of chips, I would go for it.
Slowly and gradually, my lost kgs found a way to enter my body again. I didn’t gain all of them back, but probably around 25% to 30% before I realized that I had to increase my exercise or start watching what I put in my mouth. My clothes still fit me, but they were bit tighter. I got introduced to new terms like “muffin top” and “chicken wing arms” which is essentially a roll of fat that develops when you button your pants and the dangling layer of fat that jiggles when you wave your arms. I was so disappointed that my weight-loss was not “permanent”. I had actually embarked on a beginning to life-long battle of fighting my ugly fat cells, fighting the urge to over-eat, or using eating as an excuse to satisfy emotional hunger…
How many of us have gone through this? Does this dieting story of mine share similarity with thousands of others? How many of us have spent so much money over such diets and programs, only to know that this isn’t working in long-term?
So let’s learn behind this failure and expand our knowledge to do better.
Most Traditional Diet plans restrict calories and fats to a great extent. As you can see many of them may appear to be similar to the one I did with my dietician. For short-term or during first few weeks of the diet, you will surely see promising results on the scale, since over-all caloric expenditure of the day will be greater than over-all calorie intake. But inside, along with those nasty fat cells, you will be loosing precious muscle as well. Here’s as to why.
Think of this, if a famine is approaching, what do you do to food storage? You tend to store high quality non-perishable foods and eat more of perishable foods first so that you can last all famine…..the body does the same; during dieting stage it’s not getting enough calories as before, so it perceives famine situation, and tries to hang on to more fats (which is metabolically not active, hence precious) and use more muscle (which is metabolically active, hence quickly disposable). So when you feel hungry on a diet, your body not only breakdowns the fat tissues for energy, but muscle tissue as well. This is especially true on very low-calorie diets, juice diets, fruit diets and one-meal a day diets.
When you diet, your body’s metabolism (energy expenditure) drops down to a slow pace. The body will slowly learn to adapt to running on less fuel. Many factors affect this, primary being decrease in over-all food intake and secondary being decrease in physical activity due to drop in energy. That’s why initially the weight drops off fast, and then tapers down to a slow pace.
After reaching close to your goal weight, you end your “Dieting” and slowly resume eating what you were eating before. You will see that the number on the scale goes up as well…… worse; it goes up faster than the time it took you to loose the weight!!! This is due to fact that you have lost some of your precious muscle, and you’ve dropped your metabolism to a snail pace in a first place. How many people actually increase time on their daily walks or other physical activity when they get off dieting? And even if they do, how long can they sustain this new routine?
This cycle repeats each time you embark on a new diet and then you fall into the trap of yo-yo dieting. So if you eat less on a permanent basis and work out less intensely (just morning walks or mild yoga) or do not exercise not at all, your body simply adapts to this lifestyle, and any extra consumption of calories (during parties, festivals, weddings or “just this once”) will be preserved as fat and deposited to nice comfy areas like hips, stomach and trunk or where you are genetically inclined to. Then over time, those places become hardest places to loose weight.
Yo-Yo Dieting Trap
Then you wonder, “OMG it’s my nose (the aromas simply make me fat)”….or “it’s my genes…not my fault really!” …or …”I think it’s because I am getting old, it’s natural that I am putting on weight”…. In the end, you become frustrated, helpless and simply think that’s okay, this is the way I am destined to be, and so be it.
But DONOT Despair! All battles can be conquered. This one can be too! Look for my upcoming articles for lifestyle tips, health tips, and exercise tips to lose and maintain your weight-loss….. (No, I will not write “Forever” after weight-loss… 🙂 ), but this I do promise, if you work towards this consciously, the weight will not creep back on like crazy!!!!!
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