The Danger Of Dieting, And Why It Could Do More Harm Than Good
Dieting seems to have become a fashion at some point. For some people, going on a diet is a way to regain vitality and to improve their health, while others are dominated by the ideal image of beauty, which is being transported via television and magazines.
Many companies have reacted to this trend, by offering supplements, pills, shakes, videos, and books. This list could actually go on for a while, the dieting products available are extremely diverse. Still, I notice in my own environment, that many people focus on the diet alone: they eat very little, drink nothing but water, but after a months little has really changed. I have had some interesting discussions around this topic, and I found that many people have misconceptions about dieting, and the things necessary in addition to dieting. I want to mention some of these items here, and I hope it will help some readers to lose weight, and increasing their health.
1. Energy in, energy out
The human body is like an engine. The intake of energy (the fuel) takes place via eating and drinking. The energy is distributed throughout the body, and it can either be stored as fat, or it can be used in the form of exercise, or more simply put bodily movement.
Many people going on a diet fail to recognize the exercise part of the story. Diets might reduce the intake of energy, but in order to reduce weight it is important to also increase the output of energy, in order to allow the body to use up all the energy available in the form of fat.
2. Fat and muscles as energy providers
When doing sports, the body will use the energy available in the body. On the one side, energy is provided by fat, but that energy is not easy accessible to the body. Much better accessible are the muscles. This is one of the reasons why exercise is so important; without it, the body will start using muscle tissue to get the energy it needs. Since most people focus on their weight, they will notice a reduction of weight. Little do they realize, that this reduction is due to reduced muscle tissue, not reduced fat reserves.
3. Do not focus on weight
Therefore, it is obvious not to focus on weight too much. What is important is the proportion of fat in the body. This can be estimated by actually measuring different parts of the body. A handy tool for this is provided at the Home Body Fat Test. Alternatively, such tests can also be performed by a doctor.
The greatest value of such tools is, that it focuses on your body proportions, and not weight. In the end, someone who does a lot of muscle building exercises might have a lot of muscle mass, but no fat; someone who just ate a 5-course meal might have suddenly gained weight.
4. We are built to store fat
Human beings are built to store fat. This in our genes, and at some point during our evolution it was an integral part of being able to survive. Recent studies show, that there is a particular enzyme which regulates how we store energy in our bodies. Some people seem to have more of this enzyme, literally allowing them to virtually never get fat or obese. Presumably, many people with this enzyme have not survived evolution, as the ability to store fat in the body was an elementary part of survival.
Knowing that our body will do anything to store fat, and to let us eat as much as we can, the more important it is to maintain disciplined. Eating only when being hungry, watching the calorie intake closely, doing regular exercises and focusing on the body proportions rather than weight. Bur more importantly, eat healthy as much as possible, on focus on freshly prepared food rather than canned food, which contains a lot of sugar.