Forego Dieting And Choose A Healthy, Sustainable Weight Maintenance Diet Instead
© Doug Champigny, http://flirtingwithfitness.com
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Are you dieting? In today’s vernacular, dieting has come to mean trying to lose weight. Yet Diet is the food and beverages you consume, and can lead to weight loss (Paleo Diet, South Beach Diet, etc.), weight gain (bodybuilding diet, etc), or weight maintenance (any healthy diet).
While it might seem like it’s all just playing with semantics, there really is a big difference between the two. If you’re dieting to lose weight, you’re probably making a mistake – most dieters find themselves trapped in the ‘yo-yo diet’ syndrome, forever losing a few pounds then gaining them back over and over again, often with the result of their weight slowly increasing overall.
Most diets start you off heavily restricting calories and drinking a lot of water. Restricting your caloric intake heavily only works for a very short time – usually your body will slow down its metabolism (the rate it uses energy at) by the end of the first week to compensate for the reduced intake. You may lose a pound or two of true bodyweight, but most of the loss will be from the increased water intake.
You body is truly efficient in its operations, and water is the single most important part of your nutritional intake. People can go up to about 30 days without food, but your system would shut down without water for 6 or 7 days. As a result, your body stores water based on need and available supply. When you drink more water regularly, your body doesn’t see the need to store as much of it, so it releases more of its water stores. Since you’ve increased your water consumption while dieting, your body is lighter more from carrying less water than from burning bodyfat.
And what happens when you’ve reached your weight target and end your diet? You go back to your ‘normal’ number of calories, but now your metabolism is slower so you’re actually creating a bigger caloric surplus than before you started dieting. Unless and until your metabolism catches back up, that excess will be stored as bodyfat as insurance against the next caloric deficit. And it’s the same with water – if you start drinking less, your body will go back to storing more of it.
Net result? In short order your weight has gone back up surpassing your starting weight, and you’re facing another weightloss diet. Not really what you were hoping for, was it? It’s time to break that cycle and get to and maintain your healthy bodyweight.
To start, evaluate your current eating habits and make any necessary changes. You should be eating 3 meals a day, each with a mix of fibrous carbohydrates, quality protein and some healthy fats. Replace white bread with whole wheat, including any buns, etc. Be sure to have a good breakfast – not sugar-laden cereal, salt-laden instant oatmeal or toast & coffee. Instead go for bacon & eggs, oatmeal & eggs or a grapefruit & a protein shake, for example.
Lunch should be tuna, salmon or a small portion of lean red meat, with a side of roasted or steamed vegetables or a salad – but skip the useless calories of the thicker dressings and opt for either oil & vinegar or just a drizzle of olive oil. Supper should be fish, chicken or lean red meat and green vegetables or beans. For best results, fill half the plate with steamed green vegetables.
If you find you need a snack mid-afternoon or after dinner, choose fruit, unsalted peanuts or walnuts. Just remember that while healthy, each has calories so limit the amount you allow yourself. If you’re still peckish an hour before bedtime, treat yourself to a cup of cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is high in the phosphoprotein casein, a slow digesting protein that not only helps to curb your hunger but keeps the body burning more calories while you sleep as it your body digests it.
Check your weight about once a week to see if you’re headed towards your weightloss goals. It’s always best to check first thing in the morning upon rising, before getting dressed. Your weight fluctuates by a few pounds throughout the day, so best to always check it at the same time of day, and doing it first thing helps to eliminate fluctuations based on that day’s food intake.
If you’re making progress, just keep doing what you’re doing – don’t make any changes to try & hurry the process. Let your body adapt and continue at it’s own preferred rate. On the other hand, if you’re not yet losing, try either reducing the calories slightly at each meal, or replace a bit of the carbohydrate portion with additional protein.
Once you’re at your target weight, keep monitoring yourself for another few weeks. If your body is still dropping weight, up your portions slightly until you reach a maintenance level. Now when you reach the weight you want to stay at it’s easy to maintain, since you’re already eating right to maintain that weight – no further changes are necessary as you’re now living a more fit lifestyle and eating a healthy diet. And should you slip up the odd time, increasing your exercise level, even going for a couple of walks a day, can usually help to cover up your caloric indiscretions!