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Dieting Dilemma

Once you prefer to slim down, is your first choice to run to the cutting-edge fad diet? Often a quick five to ten pounds will come off, then your old eating habits come back. If you stick with it to accomplish your weight goal, you might still find yourself back at the same weight or higher in a couple of months. Why don't diets work?

A Diet is a life-style, Not an Event

On a lot of diets, you're not eating the way you'll eat for the remainder of your life. You consume foods you might not like a great deal and don't find comforting. If you're determined enough, you stick with it till you reach your goal. But you know this is "just for the diet" instead of finding healthier foods you like in amounts that don't induce weight gain.

The very word "diet" is depressive to many of us. We consider giving up foods that are satisfying and enjoyable. We consider sitting a party with celery sticks while other people are eating the crab puffs. We might even stop socializing as food is a big part of how we interact with acquaintances and loved ones. We feel stripped, alienated and alone, except for others who are dieting. Finally we give up and enter back into the world of happy unrestrained eating, carrying damaging feelings toward healthier "diet foods."

Studies are discovering dangers in the yo-yo diet cycle of slimming down, gaining it back plus a bit more, losing, and gaining again. It's stressful on the body systems to have wide sways in body weight. We think each time that this time we will not gain it back, but the statistics show that most of us will.

At the start a diet can give you a feel of control. You're taking control of your eating patterns. You might witness success as the scale drops. But soon you're fighting cravings for disallowed foods, as well as hunger twinges and a lack of energy from the lower calorie level. Finally you rise up against the diet and begin "cheating." If your cheats are small you are able to still be slimming down, although more slowly. But before long you might go into full revolt and return to your old eating habits.

Your body responds to fewer calories by decelerating your metabolism -- burning fewer calories daily just to maintain your body functions. If you don't impart exercise along with the diet, you'll lose lean muscle mass as well as fat and water weight. When you lose muscle, your metabolic process is slowed even further and you'd have to eat even fewer calories per day to continue to slim down. It takes a conscious effort to step-up exercise when on a diet.

If you don't exercise then you fall off of the diet, the weight will come back on even quicker, as your body is burning fewer calories per day. Even worse, the weight will return on as fat instead of as the muscle you lost. Your body will look even less lean and healthy.

Your opening move to improve your health and appearance is to start daily exercise. The exercise doesn't have to be intense -- pick actions you like such as walking, biking, or swimming. Get your body going most days of the week.
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