Diet Warnings: Believing the Hype Is Dangerous
Be aware of gimmicks. I’m sure you’ve seen ads that say something like, “Lose 10 pounds in 5 days without dieting and without exercise!” Well, mathematically this is impossible, unless you were to also lose a lot of muscle, fiber, and water, and probably very little fat.
Look, 10 pounds is 35,000 calories. If you only use about 2,000 calories per day you would need at least 17.5 days to lose 10 pounds. This is assuming that you don’t eat or drink anything at all during those days, which is of course impossible. These ads play on our emotions and our weaknesses. They know many people are desperate and will try almost anything and pay good money to try it. As for their guarantees, most people are too embarrassed to ask for their money back because they’d have to admit their failure. So the company makes a lot of money without having delivered on what they promised.
Watch out for drugs. Most of these don’t work and it’s unlikely the one you’re considering is one of the few that do. The ones that do work can be addictive, can have serious side affects including death. Some drugs may result in tolerance which means you need more and more of the drug to have the same affect. Most of them work by artificially increasing your metabolic rate by increasing your body heat. But, once you stop taking the drug your metabolism will go below what it was before and you are likely to gain all the weight back. If you are thinking of taking any drugs at least talk to your doctor first.
There is no such thing as a food which will burn all the fat off your body. You may have heard something like eating celery sticks will burn more calories than you get from them. Who knows if this is technically true, but even if it is how many calories could a single celery stick burn? Probably very very few. And then how many celery sticks can you possibly eat? The point is your body can’t be fooled by a bunch of celery sticks!
Some studies have shown that as you age, losing fat becomes harder. It seems that as we get older our bodies like to hold on to the fat we have. Our metabolisms are slower and we become less active.
With each diet losing fat becomes harder. Because the body remembers what you put it through in your last diet it is now more efficient at holding on to what it has and “fights” you all the way as you try to lose weight.
After dieting you may find that you’ve gained more weight than what you were at before the diet. This happens because during severe dieting the body’s metabolism slows down, meaning you now burn fewer calories than before. When you stop dieting you go back to eating regularly but your metabolism does not increase as easily. So, now you need fewer calories but you are eating the same. And the result is weight gain.
Set point theory is the belief that your body likes to maintain the weight it is at. And the longer you’ve been at a certain weight the harder it will fight you to stay there.
Some believe that genetics play a role in determining your weight. That is, some people are predisposed to gaining fat. This evidence for this inconclusive and there is plenty of controversy surrounding the idea. The argument is whether nature is stronger than nurture (lifestyle). For example, if a child with an obesity predisposition is raised in a family with good eating and exercise habits, will they still end up obese?