Low Calorie Diet?

Is a Low Calorie Diet the Way to Go?

There are an array of different fad diets that people try to use to their advantage to lose weight and one of the longest lasting ones is a low calorie diet. With all of the publicized information referring to calorie counting and how eating less can help you to lose an ample amount of weight, (e.g. 1200 calorie diet, 800 calories diet and the Hollywood Diet just to mention a few), the question really comes down to whether it’s the best option for you or not. In short, low calorie diets aren’t the best way to lose weight, in fact, they may have negative effect if not done properly, resulting in you either becoming malnourished, overweight or both. It may, however, work if done right, that is you combine it with exercising and eating the right foods.

Lose weight quickly with a low calorie diet?

One of the largest misconceptions about low calorie diets is that they will help you to lose weight fast. This may seem true on the surface, but when we look at what really happens during a low calorie diet, the answer is not so assuring. Decreasing your calorie intake will cause initial weight loss, but in the long term most actually regain all the weight and even add on a few more pounds to when they started the diet.

You see, when you begin eating less calories on a daily basis, you will begin to see your body change and in most circumstances you will lose weight. The initial weight loss is not actually you losing any fat, but losing fluid. The reason for this is because when you first start a diet and reduce your intake, your body is receiving less energy through your new diet and reacts by releasing glycogen stores inside your body for more energy. When glycogen is broken down into energy, it releases water, so the majority of weight loss you experience is really water weight.

However, the important thing to remember is that once you have lost this initial weight, what you achieve to lose after it is the real underlying aim. In most case, your weight lost will plateau and you may stop losing more weight. This is due to our body and what scientists like to refer to as our “survival mechanism” or dietitians call the “weight loss plateau”. It is at this point that most people trying to lose weight will give up because either they see no more benefit in dieting and go back to old habits or the body feels deprived.

You see, the human body has the tendency to adapt to particular situations, especially if our system is being threatened by things that it is not used to – such as eating less calories on a daily basis. In terms of a low calorie diet plan, your body will accept the change at first and eventually begin to work against it. This can cause you to either gain all of your weight back or stop losing weight entirely, forcing you to try another form of dieting to lose more.

In terms of gaining more weight, low calorie diet plans put your body in a position where it feels as if it is not getting enough nutrition and food to survive. This in turn forces you to eat more than you normally would as it feels as if it is deprived.

Low Calorie Diets Are Time Consuming and Difficult

Another reason as to why low calorie diets aren’t the way to go is because of the fact that they are both time consuming and difficult to deal with. As humans, we like to find the easiest ways to do things so that the majority of our time is taken away from us. Unfortunately, this also applies to what we eat. The more that you force yourself to count calories and ensure that you eat less every day, the more tedious it will become over a long period of time. Have you ever encountered a situation where you’ve given up on something because it was a painstakingly long process? This is exactly what happens to the majority of people who try these low calorie diets.

The main issue with time consumption and difficulty is that when you begin your diet, you won’t want to spend every moment of your meal considering how many calories you’re consuming. In fact, it can be quite difficult to actually know how many calories are in a specific meal. Without the proper knowledge and expertise, you could find yourself starving your body. In addition, keeping track of your every meal day in day out can make you more “addicted” to thinking about foods, what to eat, what not to eat etc.

Low Calorie Diets Make It Harder to Lose Weight Again?

As previously mentioned, low calorie diets can help you to lose a small amount of weight right away but the amount of weight you lose slows down or eventually stops, causing you to seek other methods of weight loss. The problem with this is that your low calorie diet may prevent you from being able to lose weight again so easily. There are 2 main reasons for this:

1. Metabolism

Calories are responsible for giving your body energy throughout the day and as the energy burns, your metabolism is put to work. Decreasing the amount of calories you take all of a sudden severely and for prolonged periods of time will cause your body to go into “starvation mode” to protect itself. To protect itself your body starts re-adapting production of hormones, one of these is the thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormones help control and regulate your metabolism, so in starvation mode, this decrease in thyroid hormone will cause a decrease in metabolism. This means, the less calories that you eat, the less your metabolism will become. Remember, the main purpose of losing weight is to make sure that you speed up your metabolism, rather than slow it down.

2. Loss of Muscle Mass

Starvation mode is also responsible for loss in muscle massNormally, your body burns fat into energy, however, during starvation mode, your body will start to burn muscle to convert to energy. So, once you reduce your calorie intake, your muscle mass will slowly decline. This is an important factor because we know muscle is responsible for boosting metabolism and so a decrease in muscle mass will cause a decrease in your metabolism and as a consequent your body will store any extra calories as fat. Many people who succeed with a low calorie diet prevent this by trying to balance their diet with regular exercise to maintain muscle mass.

Now what…?

There are many ways to lose weight and a low calorie diet is not the be all or end all. If you are thinking of going ahead with a low calorie diet, remember it can cause your metabolism to decrease so you will also need to exercise and have enough energy to exercise. In short, a successful weight loss plan should be one that doesn’t deprive your body of food, allowing you to sustain the diet, and also includes an exercise regime for improved fitness and metabolism.

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