The failure rate of most diets is astronomical yet more and more people turn to diets to try and provide a solution to their weight problem. If you’re a battle scarred veteran of the diet wars you’ll know just how much determination and effort it takes to lose weight. You will also know how depressing it is when all the weight you’ve lost piles back on again when you finish your diet.
It’s a sad fact that well over 90% of people who go on a diet put the weight back on within six months. The main reason for this is that your body actually works against you when it comes to losing weight. Faced with a shortage of calories, its natural response is to conserve energy and so it stores all the energy it can find as fat. Back in ancient times this mechanism helped your ancestors to survive a famine, but today it makes the life of a dieter very difficult indeed. It’s called the famine factor.
The famine factor has the effect of slowing everything down. You feel tired and listless. This is to prevent you wasting vital energy. Your appetite increases to persuade you to go and make even greater efforts to find food. These natural reactions are just what a dieter does not want. It means that throughout a diet you’re fighting an increased appetite and feeling tired and listless into the bargain.
As your diet continues, your body, faced with a reduced intake of calories or energy, begins to break down muscle tissue for fuel. It does this by breaking down protein which releases nitrogen. Your body clears away the nitrogen by releasing water from tissue your cells. This has the effect of immediately reducing the water you retain in your body. You’ll probably notice a marked reduction in your weight. However, this reduction of muscle is not good. Muscle requires energy/calories to maintain itself. The more muscle you have the more effective your metabolism. Reduce your muscle and your reducing your ability to burn calories. As your muscle mass reduces so does your requirement for calories. To maintain your weight loss you therefore have to reduce your calorie intake even further.
Faced with the requirement to eat even less to maintain weight loss plus an undiminished appetite, this is usually too much for people to bear and slowly but surely they return to their old eating habits. Unfortunately, when the weight goes back on, its fat not muscle that reappears. This means that without muscle your metabolism is slower than it was before you went on your diet. Your daily calorie requirement is less too. Having returned to your old ways you are more likely to become more overweight than you were before you started the diet. It might sound perverse, but diets make you fat.