To Diet or not to Diet!

So many Diets!

Ever wanted to lose weight, went on this or that diet, only to be left more confused and frustrated because you’ve not seen any results or worse yet, you’ve finally lost some weight (YAY) only to find that after some time you’ve put all that lost weight back on plus some more, and now you find that you’ve got less energy and a slower metabolism.

Angry fat woman punching scale by hammer, shouting.

Unfortunately there are so many different diets out there that claim they are the “ultimate” diet and guarantee you the much sort after weight loss that you have been after!

There are so many categories of diets, and the lists of diets for each category are endless !

  • Belief-based diets
  • Vegetarian diets
    • Semi-vegetarian diets
  • Weight control diets
    • Low-calorie diets
      • Very low calorie diets
    • Low-carbohydrate diets
    • Low-fat diets
  • Crash diets
  • Detox diets
  • Diets followed for medical reasons


How to choose?

Unfortunately every human being is different and we all metabolize various foods differently. Some of us are very sensitive to certain foods and some of us can handle an excess of certain foods where some can’t. This is the very same reason that some diets work very well for some people and not so well for other people.

Now for any human being to survive we need 6 essential nutrients in proportionate quantities:

  1. Protein
  2. Carbohydrates (Including Fibre)
  3. Fats (Including Cholesterol)
  4. Minerals
  5. Vitamins
  6. Water

This is where we have to use our head and big warning signs should go off when we see a diet that is restricting us of any of these vital nutrients! When any diet plan also removes a whole food group from your diet, unfortunately you are not going to be getting that particular nutrient provided by that food group. This is unfortunately how a lot of nutritional deficiencies are caused and sometimes our bodies are  irreparably damaged.

How does food damage me?

But my diet works!

This is where you’ve really got to try and understand why or how your particular diet is working! The basis of all diets comes down to restricting total caloric intake in order for it to come in below your “caloric maintenance”, this is the total amount of calories your individual body needs in order to maintain its current muscle mass and survive. So when you are consuming less calories than what your body actually needs, you are going to lose weight.

NB: In order to not lose any muscle mass while losing fat, you need to be exercising. This sends your body a signal that you cannot afford to lose any muscle mass, as the muscles are put under constant strain and need to adapt to the stimuli of exercise. This only leaves the excess fat stores in your body to burn for fuel, and not your muscles!

You can actually still lose weight by eating all sorts of junk food with absolutely no nutritional value at all, as long as the total caloric intake is less than your caloric maintenance. Herein lies the success and danger with the diets that are so called helping you lose weight.

These diets will have you in a caloric deficit (which is essential for weight loss) but they also cut out most of the essential elements that we need to survive! This unfortunately does make you lose weight but it compromises your health in a very dangerous way by robbing you of nutrients, and your body starts scavenging for the nutrients it needs by breaking down precious muscle (which we need) and fat stores!

Healthy or unhealthy

Science has shown us that nutritional deficiencies give rise to the following :

* Excess body fat and obesity * Menopausal symptoms
* Excess alcohol hangovers * Muscle cramping and aches
* Exhaustion and chronic fatigue * Otitis and ear infections
* Enteritis or Crohn’s syndrome * PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome)
* Blood disorders and anaemia * Hypertension and high blood pressure
* Poor hair growth and hair loss * Chest tightness, shortness of breath, asthma
*Hypo and hyperthyroidism *Allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities
* Allergic rhinitis and hay fever * ASDV (arteriosclerotic vascular disease)
* Poor leg circulation and varicose veins * Podagra, gout, elevated uric acid
* Cold sores and herpes labialis * Insomnia and sleeping disorders
* Common colds, viral infections, and flu * IBS (irritable bowel syndrome)
* Stomach pain, heartburn, or indigestion * Insulin resistance and diabetes
* Sinus inflammation (sinusitis) * Joint inflammation and arthritis
* Slow colonic transit and constipation * Lung infection and bronchitis
* Stomach ulcers * Low immunity and recurrent infections
* Thrush, fungal infections, and
* Mood disorders and depression
* Tumours, lumps, and cancers * Excessive bruising
* Colon inflammation and colitis * Chronic pain and fibromyalgia
* Calculi and gallstones * Dementia and Alzheimer’s
* Diverticula inflammation (diverticulitis) * Migraines and headaches
* Urinary tract infection (UTI) or cystitis

skinny Muscular women

The above pictures are great examples of what healthy and unhealthy weight loss looks like. Ask yourself, which woman looks healthier, would be able to perform at peak physical performance, would be able to fight off disease or sickness easier, and is less likely to have any nutritional deficiency or be less prone to any of the ailments mentioned above?

Although both ladies are obviously not overweight, there is a drastic difference between the two in the following areas : Muscle mass, body shape, metabolic rate and health.

You see when losing weight the wrong way, you also lose muscle mass and strength. (This is the point where you go fetch your scale and throw it in the dustbin!) Muscle weighs much more than fat, and weight is never an indicator of health or being in shape! Unfortunately when you start losing muscle mass, your metabolism also slows down significantly (and this is not a good thing!) Muscle burns a lot more calories and therefore it raises your caloric maintenance, never mind the fact that you are stronger and look better, as it is our muscles that give our bodies shape and curves (as seen above). This is one of the main reasons why people put on more fat after they have lost weight incorrectly on fad diets, as they have also lost muscle mass and lowered their metabolic rate.

I would recommend a personalized nutritional plan while doing resistance training. This way you would reach a caloric deficit while still getting all the vital nutrients and keeping or increasing muscle mass while avoiding the many pitfalls and dangers of an incorrectly based diet.

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