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We need to think differently about the approach to losing weight. Forget old-fashioned diets. There are very good reasons why they do not work well. Your body was not designed recently. The human body took shape millions of years ago, long before diets were invented. At that time, the lack of food meant only one thing, starvation, and if the body could not cope with the lack of food, the result was life-threatening. So we have built-in mechanisms to preserve ourselves in the face of low food intake. These defenses are automatically put to work. When you go on a low-calorie diet, you know that you are doing so to lose weight. But your body does not know that. As far as your body is concerned you are starving, and it will trigger a number of biological mechanisms to try and stop you.
To see how to avoid this problem, let's first look at how your body burns calories. The speed at which your body burns calories is called the metabolic rate. Some people have a "fast metabolism" and burn lots of calories in a short time. They are likely to stay slim. Other people have a slower metbolic rate and have a, harder time staying slim. Your metabolism is like the rate at which anautomobile uses up gas. An idling car uses up some fuel. When the car is moving it uses more, and when it accelerates up a hill it will use a lot more gas.
Our bodies work the same way. We bum some calories even when we are relaxing or asleep because it takes energy to maintain our normal body temperature and to keep our lungs, heart, brain, and other organs working. When we engage inactivities, the more strenuous they are, the more calories we burn.
Dieting Slows Your
The point to remember is that your metabolic rate can be changed. In a period of starvation or dieting, the body slows down the metabolism. The body does not understand the concept of dieting.
Remember, as far as your body is concerned, a diet is starvation, and it does not know how long the starvation period will last. So it clings to its fat like a motorist running out of gas preserves fuel. Remember the last time you were driving along the highway and suddenly noticed that the gas gauge was below empty? You tried to remember how far below "E" your gauge will go. You went easy on the accelerator, driving very smoothly, and turned off the engine at stop lights to conserve gas until you got to a station.
Your body does the same sort of thing when food is in short supply. It turns down the metabolic flame to save as much of the fat on your body as possible until the starvation period is over, because fat is the body's fuel reserve. This is very frustrating to dieters. They often find that, even though they are eating very little, their bodies do not easily shed the pounds. Even worse, the slowed metabolism can continue beyond the dieting period, sometimes for weeks, according to studies at the University of Pennsylvania and elsewhere. For that reason, fat is easily and rapidly accumulated again after the dieting period. This causes the familiar yo-yo phenomenon, in which dieters lose some weight, then rebound to a higher weight than they started with.
Here is the first step to keeping your metabolic rate up: Make sure that your diet contains at least 10 calories per pound of your ideal body weight.
This means that if you are aiming for a weight of 150 pounds, your daily menu should contain at least 1500 calories. Weight loss will be gradual, but you will not slow your metabolism and, so, you will be able to retain your progress.
Minimum Calories per day
Ideal Weight X 10 calories = Calories
150 x 10 calories = 1500 Calories
180 x 10 calories = 1800 Calories
There is another problem with skimpy eating. Not only does the body lower its metabolic flame to conserve energy, but it also gets ready to take maximal advantage of any food source it finds. When food becomes available, there is a tremendous tendency to binge, in what is known as the restrained-eater phenomenon. You know the pattern. You have been dieting for several days, and suddenly someone brings home a carton of ice cream. A little bit won't hurt, you decide, and before you know it you are scraping the bottom of the carton and digging around the cracks for every last bit. You then scold yourself for your "lack of willpower." The truth is that the problem was not willpower at all, but the innate biological programming of the human body. The diet turned on the "'anti-starvation" plan that is built into every human being. Your body assumed that any food in front of you might be the only calorie source you might have for a while, so it demanded a binge.
It is not a question of weak will or gluttony. The human body has a built-in tendency to binge after periods of starvation.
For a similar reason, it is best not to skip meals. Skipping breakfast and lunch leads to overeating later in the day. So, eat regular meals and avoid very-low-calorie diets.
Bulimia binge eating often followed by purging almost always begins with a diet. And as the binging begins, shame and secrecy often follow. If this has happened to you, remember that binging is not a moral failing. It is a natural biological consequence of dieting.