The Diet Myth

Posted July 17 2013

You might already know this, and if you don’t, you should!! It one of the most important points about why most dieting is bad, and why people tend to put on weight after a (fad) diet, ie the “yo-yo” effect.

When you go on a strict diet, particularly one that is a significant departure from your normal eating habits, your body doesn’t know why it is getting less food, nor for how long it will be getting less. Therefore your body starts to protect the energy sources it already has, and doesn’t just start using your fat stores, it also uses valuable muscle, as it tries to conserve fat as well.

In many cases, this dieting will mean a reduction in muscle mass, which unfortunately can mean that when a person finishes a diet and starts to eat normally, they will tend put weight back on, usually as fat. The person has inadvertently reduced their muscle mass, and then increased the proportion of body fat, they actually have less muscle and more fat and a much poorer body composition. In this instance (in fact in all instances), using weight as the sole measure of your health is very misleading, as muscle weights more than fat. Sometimes you might be doing all the right things - training hard, building muscle, whilst reducing fat levels, yet your weight does not appear to be reducing much. That is why we use key body measurements and skinfolds to assist us in measuring a client’s progress.

The diet also means that the body slows it’s metabolism – which is completely counter to what we want. The majority of the body’s energy consumption is used to keep the body functioning, eg breathing, digesting, core temperature control, basic movement, etc use up more energy than anything else we do. Of course exercising uses energy but it is still not as much as the body uses to keep itself alive. The great thing about exercise is that it obviously uses energy while we are doing it, but certain types of exercising (eg strength training), increases our metabolism for quite a long time once we have finished – eg 24 to 36 hours.

It is simple; a good well balanced diet together with a consistent exercise program will see you be able to manage your body composition and fat levels (see post on Basic Eating Tips). You need to ensure you are achieving a Negative Calorie Balance – make sure you are using more energy than you consume.



The Fitwell Team