Low calorie diets are often a key diet type that lures many into false hopes of proper weight loss. These diets are diets that ask the individual to intake less than the healthy recommended amount (between 1,000-1,200 depending upon body type and attributes). Most low-calorie diets are only temporary fixes to minor weight surpluses, and have a list of caveats to avoid due to their general ineffective (and sometimes somewhat dangerous) nature. Low calorie diets can be slightly useful in very particular situations and under proper expert guidance; however they are more often pipedreams for those who are hoping there is a quick fix to weight problems. In reality, weight loss is almost exclusively achieved through healthy consumption and increased activity. Here are seven of the reasons a low-calorie diet should be reconsidered.
Hungrier and More Often
When you lack the proper amount of calories in your system, your body will ask for more. Not only that, but it will continue to ask you to give it more calories more often. Remember that your body is not aware of why it is not receiving the proper calories. Your body is only concerned with whether or not it can function properly with what it is given, and with low-calorie diets it often begins to act as if it cannot. These effects will be more intense the more you spring your diet on your body. If you are attempting a lower calorie diet, ease your body into it. However, no amount of easing will help you with a diet that consists of less than 1,000-1,200 calories (depending on your personal attributes).
Decreased Thyroid Hormone
While the thyroid can be talked about in length and complexity, it is best to keep the concept simple for this discussion. The thyroid is a gland that, among other responsibilities, regulates the metabolic rate. Your metabolic rate is another way of expressing the amount of calories you burn while not engaged in direct activity (at rest). When you supply your body with less calories, then your thyroid gland will being to produce less of the hormone that keeps the metabolism up. When this occurs, your body burns fewer calories when resting, and thus you burn through calories slower. This is why eating somewhat consistent smaller meals can be a benefit with certain individuals. The consistent intake of calories keeps the body wanting to breakdown food, which demands more of the thyroid producing the proper hormones to facilitate higher calorie burning.
Lethargy and Sloth
While your body is begging for more food, you will often find yourself lacking the motivation to be active in general. This is a very unfortunate side effect of the low-calorie diet, as with the diminishing of overall calories should comes a higher rate of activity to help lose weight. Instead, with a severe low-calorie diet what one experiences is a lack of initiative or inability to consistently stay active. This is because the body is attempting to retain the calories it is given.
The lack of initiative and sustained activity one experiences is a, indirect side effect of the body’s metabolism being lowered. As the body becomes less active and the low-calorie intake is processed, it is slowly turned into fats which the body stores. This is clearly in sharp contrast to what the dieter wants. The point of the low-calorie diet was to intake less food, add more activity, and thus lose weight easily. Instead, what tends to occur is that the body slows down everything in order to make more efficient use of the calories and fat is produced.
When one is producing very little activity and giving the body as far protein and fats that are used as fuel for the body during activity, the cultivation of muscle throughout the body also decreases. Muscles are not simply made and kept by the body, and if they are not being utilized then they begin to deteriorate and essentially disappear. Many times, the weight loss that is being experienced by low-calorie diets is a loss of muscle. This occurs while fat increases, until the rate of muscle loss is less than the fat gain, wherein the person begins to see the weight can coming back. More importantly, lost muscle can create a negative cycle. The lost muscle along with the lack of activity then makes a person lazier. By become lazier, the person then puts out less effort and again the person does even less (or sustains the same level of inactivity with greater reasoning) and so one continues to lose positive weight in muscle.
Burn Less Calories/Store More Fat
As stated above, when you burn more calories, you can store less fat. The fat is created around the body as surplus caloric storage. If the calories are being used to fuel the body during activity, they simply cannot then be turned into fat during inactivity. In general, every motion you make has to burn some calories, but as we have touched on in above paragraphs, it becomes difficult to stay active without much of this caloric fuel in the body. Without the fuel, the body remains relatively inactive. Relative inactivity slows the metabolism that then has the body story more calories as fat. Once again, it is a terribly vicious cycle of poor weight gain.
When we talk about weight rebound, we are not only discussing the idea of the vicious cycle expressed above. We are also talking specifically about the mental response to such a difficult cycle. While one may simply begin gaining weight after fat increased surpasses muscle lost, there is also simply the breakdown of the individual due to the lethargy, hunger, and frustration of poor weight loss and gain. Even if one does lose some initial weight, the body can experience what is called a “plateau” wherein it becomes difficult to lose any more weight even when very few calories are absorbed.
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