Successful Goal Management and Achievement Techniques
All diet programs apply one particular method to bring about weight loss – severe food restriction on a temporary basis.
This is a very logical approach since any time you restrict calorie intake you will definitely lose weight but at the same time lose muscle in the long run!
Which would you rather lose, muscle or fat? Would you like the loss to be permanent, temporary or seasonal?
Eating Less is not the Answer
Simple mathematics does not apply to body weight and composition.
If it does, simply eating less would all make us lose fat and become lean. However, it simply does not follow that if you eat more calories than you burn, you will store the excess as body fat and if you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose fat.
It is only at the initial stages of a calorie-restricted diet that weight loss occurs rapidly; however, weight loss slows down and eventually stops.
This happens because the human body has developed a weight-regulating mechanism that recognizes when there is a fuel shortage (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) thereby automatically triggering a decrease in energy expenditure to protect the human body.
Physicians and fitness experts call this survival mechanism the starvation response.
The Starvation Response
It is medically proven that people can survive for months without food; this is possible because of the human body’s extraordinary ability to automatically slow down its rate of calorie burning.
This self-preserving response developed largely from man’s exposure to adverse environmental conditions. It is man’s natural coping mechanism to ensure survival.
During periods of starvation, the human body slowly begins to feed off itself as it burns fat stores and muscles for energy. If the body continues to burn calories at the normal rate, the limited reserves of stored energy would be exhausted very rapidly and death would ensue.
However, this life-preserving mechanism also works against you when you are trying to lose weight because the body does not know the difference between dieting and starvation!
Very Low-Calorie Diets are Unhealthy
The side effects of low-calorie dieting may be harmful because of its extensive effects on the human body.
Slows Down Metabolism
Lower calories results in a slower metabolism become because there is less for the body to burn. The slowing down of metabolism makes it harder for the body to burn fat even if there are lesser calories to work on.
Severe calorie restrictions decrease metabolism by as much as 20 to 30%, which is why people on a calorie restricted diet find it almost impossible to the lose the last 10 or 20 pounds towards their optimal target weight.
Results to Muscle Loss
A low-calorie diet always results to the loss of muscle tissue. Once the body reacts to severe calorie restrictions, the body begins to look for ways to conserve energy; since the muscle is a metabolically active tissue, getting rid of it is the body’s initial response to decrease energy expenditure. The body starts converting muscle including skeletal muscles, internal organs, even the heart muscle into glucose!
Increases Activity of Fat-Storing Enzymes and Decreases Activity of Fat Burning Enzymes Rapid decreases of calorie intake results to the production of a fat-storing enzyme called Lipoprotein Lipase (LPL) and a decrease in the production of fat burning enzymes.
Decreases Output of Thyroid Hormone
Calorie reduction in results in a corresponding reduction in the output of active thyroid hormone which results to an overall decrease in the metabolic rate and fewer calories burned.
Weight Gain Rebound
Although a low-calorie diet results in immediate weight loss, it never takes long for the body to catch on and starts conserving energy. When this happens, losing weight becomes much harder.
Because no more results are visible, hunger pangs cause people to give up the diet program. As soon as they stop the diet program, weight is regained immediately.
Decreases Energy and Work Capacity. Restricted calorie diets generally make you tired, lethargic and unable to work out. High levels of activity or intense workouts are crucial if you aim for long-term fat loss.
Techniques to Permanent Fat/Weight Loss
Use the following strategies to permanently lose fat and weight without starving yourself.
Change your Eating Habits
To lose fat permanently and going on quick-fix diets, change your eating habits instead. Dieting is a defective method because it is temporary. Having this type of attitude sets you up for failure even before you begin your diet. You do not lose fat permanent by restricting your calorie intake. You can only achieve permanent fat loss by adopting new exercise and nutrition habits for the rest of your life.
Build up and Tone Your Muscles
Muscles burn fat. The more toned muscles you have, the more calories you burn even while resting. The best way to burn more calories and lose body fat is to gain more muscle.
Induce Calorie Deficits
Induce calorie deficits by engaging in sustained activity, decreasing calorie intake or a combination of both. The best way to bring about fat loss is to decrease your calories just a little while at the same time increasing your physical activity.
Do Simple Exercise Instead of Dieting
A successful and more permanent way to induce calorie deficit is to increase the amount of calories you burn though exercise.
Burning off calories is the superior method of losing fat. The most effective fat and weight loss program is to eat more of the right foods and exercise to burn the excess fat.
Determine your Minimum Calorie Requirements
This guarantees that you will not trigger the body’s natural starvation mode response and you will not inadvertently slow down your metabolic rate. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSN) recommends 1200 calories as the minimal daily calorie level for women and 1800 for men.
They also suggest a maximum deficit of 1000 calories below maintenance. Following the ACSM recommendation, the maximum calorie deficit for women would be 240 calories with a minimum calorie requirement of 960 (1200 less 240) calories per day.
Eat Frequently BUT Never Skip Meals
Eat approximately every three hours. Make sure you establish meal times and follow them strictly. Eat smaller portions (rather than eating less frequently but of greater quantity) frequently so that you can eat less without starving yourself.
Do not Keep Your Calorie Intake Constant
Eating more frequently makes the body automatically burn more calories. Raising and lowering your calorie intake regularly results into a more effective calorie burning procedure for the body.
Lose Weight Gradually
Lose weight gradually through a combination of exercise and healthy eating rather than severe calorie restriction.
The recommended maximum weight loss rate is two pounds weekly, the universally accepted standard guideline for safe weight loss. Although you can lose more than two pounds a week, it is highly unlikely that you can lose more than two pounds of fat per week. A loss of more than two pounds per week will result to muscle loss.
If you lose weight slowly and gradually, it becomes easier to keep the fat off. It’s better to lose only one pound of fat weekly than is to lose two pounds weekly with one pound from muscle and one pound from fat.
It may take a long time but it is one of the keys to permanent fat loss. For most individuals, losing more than two pounds per week actually means they should eat more and that you are actually losing muscle as well!
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