There’s not a good reason to ever try a “quick weight loss only diet.” Why? Because you will end up with what you don’t want–more weight gained than what you lost. Get a healthy meal plan that you can maintain.
Being fit is much more than going on a diet. Fitness is a lifestyle designed to improve your energy, your health, your mood, your self image and your body composition (among other benefits).
Here are 5 reasons “quick weight loss only diets” lead to weight gain:
1. Quick weight loss leads to slowed metabolism, a weaker immune system, hormonal imbalances, loss of lean mass, increased body fat, decreased energy levels, disrupted sleep patterns, short-term results and yo-yo dieting.
Advertisements such as “lose 30 pounds in 20 days,” sends a message that has a short-term solution to your weight problem. Weight lost that quickly (without regular exercise) will be mainly lost muscle mass instead of fat mass (this will slow down your metabolism). You also might be very ill after losing that much weight in such a short period of time.
Never do crash diets or severe calorie restriction. This will usually lead to yo-yo weight loss and even more weight gain. You will regain weight quickly once you begin to eat properly again.
2. You will regain weight when you don’t change your body to more muscle mass and less fat mass.
Building muscle mass will help burn fat and keep the weight loss off.
Exercise regularly with strength training and short interval cardio sessions. Too many long, slow cardio sessions will eat away at your muscles.
3. If you want to lose 20 pounds to get ready for your friend’s wedding 3 months from now, that’s great! Don’t stop exercising and eating healthy after the wedding.
Keep the good exercise and eating habits going—for life. There’s no good reason to stop. That’s how you can ultimately stop the yo-yo weight loss and regain. Otherwise, you will always regain more weight than you lost.
According to Marketdata Enterprises, an estimated 54 percent of people in the United States are currently trying to lose weight. This leads many of you to buy weight loss pills and “special foods” that promote weight loss. There’s no need to do this. Just start with a regular exercise program and eat healthy based on your basal metabolic rate and activity level. You have to be willing to go with this plan for the long-term. It takes a long time to change your body’s composition.
4. If you don’t change your lifestyle habits, weight loss won’t last. The typical dieter tries a new plan four times a year.
“We have this mentality that a diet is something to go on and then get off as quickly as possible,” says FITNESS advisory board member Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, founding director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Weight Management Center. “But lasting weight loss requires making lifestyle changes that will work long-term.”
“With special-occasion weight loss, it’s all about dropping pounds quickly,” Fernstrom says. Do this too often and you may find that it’s even harder to lose than before. “Constant crash dieting causes your body to cling to the calories you do eat because it’s not sure when it’s going to get more,” she explains.
Rather than keep the pounds off just long enough to impress strangers on your vacation, think about rewarding long-term achievements. Maybe you want to train for your first half-marathon or get in shape to hike the Grand Canyon. Setting a big new goal each time you check one off your list will keep you headed in the right direction.
It’s not only your waistline that suffers from yo-yoing. “Repeated crash dieting increases metabolic hormones, such as insulin, and elevates levels of sex hormones, including estrogen,” says Andrea Pennington, MD, author of The Pennington Plan for Weight Success. “These changes cause you to start putting on weight around your middle, which research has linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.”
5. Your confidence takes a hit with each weight loss and weight regain episode.
“The more times you go through the gain-lose-gain cycle, the less convinced you become that you can break free from the constant ups and downs,” says Keri Gans, RD, a dietitian in private practice in New York City. “No one wants to diet forever; it’s hard work.”
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