When it comes to weight loss, there are so many different diets and approaches out there that sometimes it may feel that you have tried them all, but nothing works. Let’s face it, in reality, you cannot have a no-carb diet forever, you can’t live on meal supplements everyday for the rest of your life, and you can only restrict your caloric intake for so long. Sooner or later, you will find that although you are losing weight, you will feel that you are not getting enough energy from your diet. And, at some point, you begin to have a “normal” diet, which also has its own set of side affects, including weight gain. Therefore, how do you realistically lose weight and keep it off?
Well, before I give you the secret and simple tools to lose weight and keep it off, let’s cover the hazards of yo-yo dieting. Yo-yo dieting is when you lose weight and then gain it back. Then again you lose weight and then it all comes back. And so on the cycle continues. Diets do not work because they are very limiting in scope. There is more to health and vitality than dieting. When it comes to good health and managing weight, lifestyle, sleep, and stress factors are just some other things to consider. When dieting or being on any weight loss regimen, it is important to focus on losing body fat and not lean body mass. When losing more than two pounds a week at a time, it usually means that you are losing lean body mass and not the excess body fat. This is where the trouble begins and the yo-yo dieting pattern takes into effect.
A calorie-restricted diet does not allow you to lose body fat, despite its first appearances. On first impression, whenever you begin a new diet, it appears that you are losing as much as nine pounds a week. When restricting calories, you use your stored glycogen to regulate energy levels. As a result, within a couple weeks, the stored glycogen is depleted and it becomes difficult to regulate the blood-sugar levels. The body requires eating enough calories to maintain energy and caloric needs. Once your body is deprived of sufficient amounts of energy, the body has to take energy from somewhere, so it comes from the bones and muscles. By this point, there is no body fat loss, only the loss of lean body mass and hence; the bones and muscles are being damaged. Ultimately, your metabolism slows down and your ideal weight goal is reached. You now have lean body mass and a decreased metabolic capacity. The minute you come off of your diet and begin to consume an adequate amount of calories, your body weight returns to exactly where you started, if not higher. You gain more body fat when you return to your “normal” diet because your body is no longer in starvation mode and it will try to keep as much energy stored just in case you restrict your calories again. Thus, the cycle of yo-yo dieting continues. You gain the weight and you lose the weight and then you go back to gaining weight. Essentially, not only does dieting make you fat, but you also end up depriving yourself of energy and nutrients. The entire hormonal and digestive systems become imbalanced and the equilibrium of the body is lost. Every time you diet, you have less potential for rebuilding muscle, less potential for burning body fat and more potential for storing body fat.
The more you diet, the harder it is to lose weight. Every time you lose weight, you lose half muscle and half of the body fat. However, after the diet is done and you gain all the weight back, you actually gain all the fat back and none of the muscle gets replaced. Muscle is metabolically more active and burns seventy times as many calories as fat cells and losing muscle slows down metabolism. Losing fat takes a lot of work, but losing muscle is really easy and it is muscle that you want to retain. The effects of yo-yo dieting make it much harder to hold onto the muscle that is greatly needed to maintain health.
With that said, I hope that I didn’t scare you off and you made your way down to how I help my clients to lose weight. The importance of managing weight is in knowing and understanding your body. The most significant matters are being able to regulate your own appetite and metabolism and it is more important to work with your body rather than against it. Most diets work against the natural functioning of the body and have the tendency to be counter-intuitive. This is why diets are counter-productive and do more harm than good.
Here are the Five key ways to lose weight and keep it off:
1) Recognising the different body types
I always refer back to the doshas because Ayurveda recognises the individuality of different body types and different dietary needs of each person. When attempting to manage weight, working against the doshas is also not healthy because you are working against your natural body type. Therefore, whenever I work with a client to lose weight, I customise the diet based upon their dosha type.
2) Boost digestion and metabolism
In order to lose weight, your digestion and metabolism needs to be working at its best. Although this is number two on the list right now, digestion needs to be addressed before considering the dietary needs. A strong, balanced, and healthy digestion leads to a strong and healthy metabolism, which means that your weight loss efforts will be successful. There are many ways to boost your digestion and you can read about it on my blog article titled: Improving your Digestion
3) Do not restrict calories
Restricting your calories means that you are restricting your energy levels, which in the long run, is not a healthy nor efficient way to lose weight. In order to lose weight, you have to eat balanced meals and keep your energy levels up. When you restrict your caloric intake, you reduce your ability to keep your metabolism up to par.
4) Eat carbohydrates, proteins, and healthy fats
Don’t be thrown off by all the different diets out there that tell you to leave out carbohydrates or fats. You need a balance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins to lose weight and stay healthy. When leaving out carbohydrates, you are limiting yourself to only protein as a source of energy, which is also very inefficient for your body. Your body needs carbohydrates and needs some form of real sugars. And remember, not all fats are bad. Nuts and non-hydrogenated oils are very healthy to consume. A good balance of carbs, protein, and fats will help you to lose weight and gain muscle mass.
Diet isn’t the only key factor to losing weight. Exercise is crucial for weight loss. You have to be physically active to lose weight. Exercise also helps to reduce stress levels, which in turn prevents weight gain. And further more, exercise, helps to boost metabolism.
Ultimately, when you are on a weight loss regimen, it is important to creating new healthy habits and creating lasting healthy habits. Most diets do not work because they do not educate about creating changes so that you can adapt a healthy lifestyle once you come off of the diet. Unless you are coached and educated, it is very likely that you will revert to your old habits. Another way to counter and prevent yo-yo dieting is to learn how to live well. Along with engaging in movement activity that benefits the cardiovascular system, it is important to relax, manage stress, and sleep well. Ultimately, managing weight is about developing healthy dietary habits and creating healthy lifestyle changes.
Health and happiness,