You know how it goes. You find a diet that seems doable. You get into it.
For 90 days or more, it feels like you’ll be hungry for the rest of your life. You think of little else but food and what it used to be like; its wonderful smell; its delicious flavour.
You feel like you’re living in a dream world where nothing’s quite normal.
But you push through. You meet your target weight, or close enough that you’ll only be telling a ‘little’ lie when you let everyone, and yourself, know that you’ve done it.
Now all you have to do is keep track of calories and not let things get out of hand. Cool. And there can’t be anything wrong with a little ‘cheat’ day once or twice a week, eh? After all, you look great and you are still doing some of the extra walking you started during the diet.
It’s still a little tough though, and you’re beginning to get the idea that it might never be the same again. But you’ve seen the payoff and you’re OK with making a few sacrifices to make it happen.
Then, two months later, you suddenly notice you have most of the weight back and you don’t think you can continue with any of the efforts you’ve been making to ‘manage’ your weight.
It can be absolutely devastating. All that work and time. All the sacrifices and changes to your diet.
All for nothing.
Don’t Blame Yourself When Your Weight Loss Diet Doesn’t Work
The almost ‘instant’ appearance on our thighs (or tummy or wherever they gather) of any extra calories we eat and the near torture of getting rid of that extra weight is perhaps the biggest reason that many people simply abandon hope of ever permanently losing weight.
They feel that it’s just not for them. That they are destined to be ‘big’. That they don’t have the strength to lose weight. In other words, they put themselves at the root of all the causes of their extra weight and/or their inability to lose it.
In a way, it makes sense. If you can’t lose weight, you must be the problem. Either there’s something ‘wrong’ with your body (“it’s my metabolism”), or your outlook (“I just don’t care”), or both, that prevents you from losing weight.
Yet there’s another element of weight loss that we never question and it has nothing to do with you. And it’s the real reason why it’s easier to gain weight than lose it.
Burning More Calories Than You Eat Does Not (Necessarily) Lead to Weight Loss
We’ve told you before about the folly of turning healthy, sustained weight loss into a simple mathematical equation. Yes, burning more calories than you consume will lead to weight loss. But as simple and easy as it sounds, it’s far more complex and difficult to do.
It’s the crash diets and their simple mentality about weight loss, promoted to cash in on our yearning to slim down, that are one of the main reasons why you can’t keep weight off. They over-simplify a very complex process and that sets you up for failure – and sets them up to rake in the cash.
Here are just a few reasons why you can’t simply cut calories and get more exercise to healthily lose weight.
Your body really likes everything to stay normal and stable – or be in a state of homeostasis. Your body likes homeostasis so much, it will actually change it in response to ongoing changes in your normal routine. In other words, if you gain weight over time, your body decides that the extra weight is ‘normal’ and changes its state of homeostasis to include the higher weight.
When you suddenly cut calories in a crash diet, your body sees it as a threat to homeostasis, and fights against the change. And the diet doesn’t last nearly long enough for the body reset its homeostasis to the lower weight.
2. Exercise Alone is Not the Best for Losing Weight
Yes, leading a more active lifestyle burns calories and helps to lose weight, and keep it off. It also reduces and/or eliminates a number of other physical and mental health issues. But more exercise doesn’t necessarily lead to more weight reduction.
Studies have found that, similar to its reaction to extra weight, your body tends to adjust your level of exercise. While doing more exercise on any particular day will use more energy, your body adjusts to ongoing increases in levels of activity by limiting how much energy is burned to support the activity. In other words, it makes itself more efficient at using energy. If you’ve never jogged in your life, and go out tonight and run a kilometre (not without talking-to your doctor first!) the effect on your weight will be much higher than if you’ve been jogging for years and you ran the same kilometre tonight.
3. Your Body Tries to Protect You
Quite simply, your body would rather put on weight than lose it. It is programmed to survive and it needs energy to do so. When it gets more energy than it can use, like when you consume a lot of sugary foods, instead of getting rid of the extra energy, your body stores it in fat cells.
On the other hand, when you start robbing your body of calories (energy), it sees it as a threat and, as outlined in point number two above, it actually reduces how much energy you need to live. Unfortunately, that makes it more difficult to lose weight.
Believe it or not, there is a way for you to lose weight and get your body to help you. By giving your body proper nutrition as you slim down, you make sure it gets the energy it needs while you get the weight loss you want. Talk to the nutritional consultant at your local Herbal One Center to find out more.