The holiday season is ending and many of us feel like we should never eat again.
We know dieting doesn’t work in the long-term, but we can’t resist the immediate gratification of a ridiculous diet. Not only does it feel good to actually be hungry again, but dropping a few pounds quickly is also appealing.
What happens when we starve ourselves?
Rapid weight loss programs rely on this secret: dehydration.
When we restrict our eating, the body breaks down its glycogen stores.
Glycogen is a storage form of carbohydrates in our liver and muscles that is stored along with water, up to three or four parts water per part glycogen. So, when the body uses up its glycogen stores, it loses significant water weight.
Unfortunately, if we do start eating again, these glycogen stores are replenished (along with water), and the weight is quickly regained. So the good news is that you didn’t really gain back five pounds in one day, but the bad news is that you haven’t lost any fat, and you were in a bad mood for a week for nothing.
So what is a better way to lose weight?
For many, it is about learning to put food back in its place, as an important and enjoyable part of our lives that we can share with others, not a threat to our health or sense of personal well-being.
That being said, it is something we need to learn to eat in moderation.
If you are trying to lose weight, keep the following common problems in mind:
• Making unrealistic goals: losing five to 10 per cent of your weight over a year is a realistic goal. For some people, maintaining their current weight is a realistic goal.
Try to focus on health and well-being rather than the numbers on the scale.
• Managing our see-food-and-eat-it brain: learning not to eat food just because it is present.
• Managing our complex emotional system: finding other ways to comfort ourselves besides food.
Supporting changes we wish to make in our eating behaviours without attacking or criticizing ourselves.
• Lack of exercise: It is recommended that most people get 30-60 minutes of exercise, most days of the week. This can give weight loss and health a boost.