Why is dieting alone ineffective for losing weight?

Eric Olsen
Dieting alone can be futile. Despite the diet industry's regular proclamations of new secret formula nostrums or programs guaranteed to burn off pounds while you continue to eat your fill and never exercise, all the research indicates that dieting (restricting calories consumed) without exercise is usually a doomed endeavor.

First, when you go on a diet and start to restrict your caloric intake, the flesh assumes with a wisdom born of millennia of hard times that you're in the middle of still another famine, so it slows the metabolism and starts hanging on for dear life to every calorie it can get, at the same time sending out ever more desperate pleas for more food, and sending you to the kitchen again and again to stare longingly at the fridge. It's a very effective survival mechanism, and this metabolic slowdown can be significant, as much as 5 percent or more, which means as you diet and lose weight, your body could be hanging on to an extra 200 or more calories every day, or close to half a pound a week; that is, if you don't also become more active.

Next, even when a dieter does manage to lose weight despite the difficulties, most dieters gain it back. Harvard's JoAnn Manson, MD, notes that one-third to two-thirds of the weight most dieters lose is gained back within a year and nearly all of that weight is back within five years, at which point most dieters start all over again, if they aren't so discouraged they give up entirely.

But when dieters gain weight after losing it, they're not back where they started; in fact, they're often worse off than if they had never dieted and lost weight at all. When we slip off the diet and start eating the way we used to again, we regain weight more rapidly because our metabolisms have slowed as a result of the original food restrictions. More of the additional calories we take in are stored as fat. And when we restrict caloric intake, we lose not only fat, but muscle, so that when we start regaining weight, we replace that lost muscle tissue with still more fat. The end result is that once we've returned to our original weight after dieting, in fact, we're fatter than ever.
Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

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Lifefit: An Effective Exercise Program for Optimal Health and a Longer Life

An easy-to-follow programme for lengthening and improving lives. More than an exercise guide, this text is an effective tool for making meaningful lifestyle decisions to benefit long-term fitness. In...

Most people don't really understand how the human body works when it comes to losing weight.

It's logical to think that starving yourself will make you lose weight, but that's not the case at all.

Starving yourself (also known as a traditional diet) will only cause your body to keep storing all the food you eat as fat, and instead will start eating away, little by little, at your muscles.

Not really the results that too many people are hoping for with their "diet."

But there is good news. And that is You can lose the weight you want to lose.

It's just going to take more than a "diet."

You must start eating the proper foods that will accelerate your matabolism and condition your body to start burning fats for energy.

You must also start an exercise program to go along with the proper foods you will eat.

They go hand-in-hand. One will not work without the other.

And the reason dieting alone is ineffective for losing weight is that most people don't incorporate all the tools available for them to be successful.

Proper Nutrition, the right kind of, and quantity of exercise, and good quality sleep must all be used in your fight against unwanted body fat.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.