News Flash: Starving Yourself Makes You Hungrier

October 21, 2011

This is a guest post by Trina Cleary.

Ever been on a weight loss diet and felt like you were losing your mind, rather than fat? Well, you probably were.

A recent study published in Cell Metabolism shows that dieting can force the brain to consume small parts of itself for energy. How’s that for a visual to convince you that healthy eating is a better choice than dieting?

The brain cells being eaten are responsible for regulating appetite. As these brain cells break down more of the free fatty acids that signal your body to eat are generated.

The result, that starving yourself makes you even hungrier, is no surprise.

Yet diet books and fad diets abound. And despite the glut of fat-free, low-calorie and sugar free foods, obesity rates are at an all time high. A much more effective, enjoyable, and sustainable approach to weight loss is to simply eat a balanced and abundant diet of healthier foods.

Diets might trick you, but they can’t trick your body.

When you reduce your food intake, your body puts itself on alert, preparing for what it thinks is a dangerous impending famine. It gets the sense that food may be scarce, so it is smart and drastically slows down its rate of metabolizing food and fat stores. This way your body is able to make the most of the food it is given and to protect its energy stores. Your body would much rather break down muscle tissue than let go of its fat reserves, which are a precious gold mine of secure future energy.

A diet that has you losing a lot of weight rapidly is probably first draining you of water stores, and secondly eating into your muscle tissue. It is physically and scientifically impossible to lose more than 2 lbs of actual fat in one week.

Keep in mind that if you go on a diet then return to more normal eating habits, the food you consume has a higher chance of being stored into fat as your body is nervous that a famine may happen again. Sensibly enough, your body wants to make sure it has enough fat stored up to protect you.

A diet not only puts your body in a state of anxiety, but your mind as well. There is nothing like telling yourself that you can’t or shouldn’t have something to make you want that certain something even more. It is a much healthier option, both physically and emotionally, to quit “dieting” and focus on all the healthy foods you can have. This empowers you to eat with a mentality of abundance as opposed to restriction.

Eat a healthy diet instead of “dieting”.

You can lose a lot of weight by shifting to a diet absolutely filled with delicious foods all day long, as long as most of those foods are natural whole grains, veggies and fruits. A study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that overweight people who avoided high-fat food and increased the amount of fruits and veggies that they ate actually lost 20% more weight than those who just cut out the high-fat foods.

Also, a diet filled with whole foods inherently contains a lot of fiber and water. This helps you to clear out any accumulated toxins that have been stored in your intestines. These toxins can account for a constantly bloated belly and many of the pounds that you may have been carrying around for years.

When you consume food, your body has a choice to convert it either into fat or use it for immediate energy. Which it decides is determined by chemical reactions that are activated by enzymes, which are largely determined by a precise balance of vitamins and minerals.

If your body is even slightly vitamin or mineral deficient, this can interfere with sensitive chemical reactions, making it more likely that your body chooses to store the food as fat. Eating a healthy diet filled with whole foods can also help you lose weight because your chances of being nutritionally deficient are much lower than if you are on a restricted regimen or a diet filled with empty diet foods.

When wanting to lose weight, you have to be realistic about whether the program you choose is something that you can actually sustain for the long term. If you can’t picture yourself maintaining and enjoying what you consume, your plan will probably not last too long. What's the point of putting yourself through a rigid diet only to gain back the weight down the road?

By making a commitment to whole foods you can enjoy the process of losing weight as well as gaining better health. You can also ensure that your weight loss efforts will be maintained for years to come.

Have you given up on "dieting" yet?

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