When you’re bombarded with images of gorgeous celebrities who seem to have easy ways to lose weight in the time it takes them to eat a poppy seed muffin, it’s no wonder you’re tempted to cut your already low kilojoule intake in an effort to shift those extra kilos. When you’re feeling frustrated and desperate to lose weight, it is easy to be attracted to FAD diets and programs that promise magical, rapid and easy weight loss.
It is true that in order to lose weight you should take in (eat) less kilojoules than you expend*. But (and this is a very important but) taking in too little kilojoules will trigger your in-built blue print for survival and send you into starvation mode. So rather than helping you to reach your target weight more quickly, severely restricting kilojoules (as most FAD diets do) will prevent your body from burning unwanted fat stores and will slow down (or worse, STOP) your weight loss.
Ever wondered what’s inside a camels hump? It is not water as is commonly believed. It is fat – stored fat. Camels store fat because they don’t know how long they’re going to go between meals. When you starve yourself by going on a diet or not eating when you are hungry, your body has the ability to do the same thing. Store fat!
By not eating, your body will assume that you’re going through some sort of famine and will become super efficient at storing every morsel of fat from your next meal and not letting go of your body fat stores just in case the ‘famine’ goes on.
In addition, consistently over riding your body’s natural call for food alters your metabolism. Your metabolism will slow down so that it can conserve energy. You may also experience rapid weight regain after the famine aka diet is over – this is a normal reaction of the human body to replace lost weight as fast as possible when it’s been exposed to a period of deprivation.
Cutting your energy intake too much and losing weight too quickly, can have the following side effects and consequences:
- Prolonged hunger
- Depression and irritability
- Fatigue and fainting
- Loss of muscle
- Constipation, due to lack of fibre-intake
- Lowered metabolism, if food intake is inadequate to the level of exercise, causing future attempts at weight loss to become more difficult
- Dysfunctional eating behaviours
- Subsequent weight re-gain
So what’s the sensible alternative?
No magic fix … it’s much more sensible to use a balanced, low-fat diet that still contains sufficient energy consumed from a variety of food groups and you’ll still reap the following benefits:
• Desired weight loss that is slow and steady so more like to stay off!
• Plenty of energy for your daily routine and hopefully some exercise
• Emotionally stable and not depressed
• Less likely to regain all the weight you’ve lost
* An energy deficit of 1000-2000 kilojoules (500 calories) per day, can result in a 0.5 kilogram to 1 kilogram weight loss per week.