Many people feel that by eating less food, they will automatically lose weight. Although this is true to a degree, eating too little can actually be counterproductive to long term weight loss. This is one reason why so many “fad diets” are not recommended by nutritionists and healthcare professionals; some can even be dangerous.
There are numerous diets that rely on practical starvation; these diets should be avoided. Any eating plan that requires replacing solid meals with liquid meals, or “shakes”, is a short term weight loss strategy rather than a long-term, life changing, sustainable weight loss plan. The body reacts badly to diets that allow you to only eat extremely small amounts of calories. It enters “starvation mode”, meaning that when you do return to normal eating, you will regain the weight you lost (and usually some extra). This is the main reason for “yo-yo dieting”.
When you eat too little and the body enters starvation mode, your metabolism is slowed, dramatically. The body sees that it is not receiving as many calories as it should be, and as a preservative reaction, it stores the calories which are consumed, which turns in to fat. The body also uses lean muscle mass as a fuel source, which is counterproductive to fat loss, as well as being dangerous for those that are already low on muscle mass (remember, the heart is a muscle!).
What is the right way to eat when on a diet?
When dieting, you need to calculate how many calories your body needs to maintain its current weight. There are many “BMR” calculators online that can help you do this. Once you have found out your BMR (Base Metabolic Rate), you choose to eat 500 calories less than you need. This means that you will have a calorie deficit, and you will lose weight at a solid, steady rate.
In conjunction with a healthy calorie deficit diet, you must aim to get your metabolism working as fast as possible. To do this, eat small meals often. Instead of eating three large meals, eat six small meals across the day. Your body will know that it is getting a steady stream of food across the day, so it will stop seeing the need to store food as fat. Once you have raised your metabolic rate, you will burn more calories across the day as a matter of course. Balance your meals with protein, healthy fats, and carbohyrdates for energy. Salads and soup recipes are a fantastic way to create tasty and nutritious meals that you can use as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
- Don’t starve yourself.
- Figure out your Base Metabolic Rate.
- Eat small meals, often.
- Eat healthy, balanced meals.
- Avoid fad diets.
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