Written by Nicole DeIorio, Marketing Intern
Let’s face it – diets are the worst. They restrict your eating and put you through mental anguish, all for the measly reward of the scale moving a pound a week. It causes more stress than payoff, and many people would consider the juice not worth the squeeze. No donuts, ice cream, cake, chips, Burger King Whoppers, sodas, or instantaneous gratification during the strict time you’ve circled on the calendar.
With 45 million Americans going on a diet each year, a massive portion of the population undergoes the same emotional turmoil you are. And with so many rules to follow, all promising significant weight loss in a short time, what do you listen to? Is wading through the monsoon of exercise and weight loss information worth the struggle?
Weight loss is hard and comes with unforeseen hardships you can’t plan for. Read how major weight loss impacts your body.
The adage “burn more calories than you consume” seems like sound advice until you’re knee deep in a bitter kale smoothie. Since one pound is 3,500 calories, restricting food consumed during the week means losing one pound when you step on the scale Saturday morning.
The body doesn’t appreciate the calorie cutback and will fight against the gradual or sudden change in food intake. In fact, as you lose fat, your body experiences a surge in appetite because fat cells release a hormone called leptin, which moderates hunger, into the bloodstream. As fat melts away, your body releases the leptin stored in fat deposits, increasing your hunger to help you maintain the weight you’re trying to lose.
Your brain wants to sabotage your diet by urging you to crave high-calorie, fatty foods. Don’t give in. Studies show that after one year of steady exercising and denying most cravings – with a little indulgence in moderation – your body will regulate to a new normal.
In fact, one study showed that people who lost weight and kept it off for nine months reacted differently when shown images of high-calorie foods than before they lost weight. The part of the brain that processes reward didn’t react as strongly, whereas the areas that promote overall self-control had a boost in activity.
Those who yo-yo diet are even more prone to falling off the wagon and gaining back their weight. Your body wants you to cheat on your diet – it’s worried the body is starving and is desperately looking to make you “healthy” again.
Dieting causes a stress reaction in the body because, let’s face it, dieting is stressful! Your body begins releasing stress hormones, which are linked to weight gain, especially in the belly. Stress hormones also mess with regulating your weight because it blocks normal hunger cues, leaving you prone to eating out of boredom or emotions.
Throughout the day, your body is exposed to toxins and environmental waste. Your body tries hard to filter these toxins, but fat cells love storing it! Even worse, the more fat the body has, the more toxins live within it. Unsurprisingly, you will experience extreme fatigue, complexion issues, and many other symptoms of toxin overload. With each pound that you burn, you reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and many other illnesses. Be aware, as toxins are removed from fat cells, they have nowhere to go but into your body. Stay hydrated, eat clean, and use a dry sauna to combat the impact of toxins.
Fat cells, which are inflamed by nature, also attract immune system cells since the body constantly searches for inflammation. These healthy cells attack fat cells as though they are viruses. When you lose weight, the body relaxes from its constant heightened attack mode, reducing inflammation throughout. A little inflammation is okay as it is intended to fight off infection but keeping the body in this state through obesity is linked to cancer and other illnesses.
If your weight loss goal is daunting, picture losing weight in 5-percent increments. If you lose just 5-percent of your body weight, you drastically reduce your risk for chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Being overweight also puts stress on the adrenal glands and respiratory system, so losing weight can lessen or eliminate allergies. It increases energy levels and boosts oxygen efficiency. No more sucking wind during cardio-intense workouts. In fact, for every pound you lose, you can shave two seconds off your mile run time. It may not seem like a lot, but if you have 60 pounds to lose, that’s a minute off your mile run.
Obesity is linked to poor memory – especially in women who carry weight around the hips – and eyesight. Losing weight benefits eyesight because obesity is associated with lower levels of retinal protecting antioxidants.
Losing weight helps in reducing arthritis symptoms and easing joint pain. However, your bones may change with each pound lost. After all, it takes more bone density to weigh more, so when you lose weight, your bone density may lessen. Incorporating protein, calcium, and vitamin D can help prevent the loss of muscle and bone during weight loss.
To lose and keep the weight off, make your brain comfortable! After all, weight loss is a constant battle between brain and body. If you want your body to win, you need to take care of your brain. You can do this by eating a diet of unrefined, lower calorie-density, and simple food. This method involves skipping the calorie counting and letting the natural responses in the brain take cues from your healthy habits and naturally lower your weight for you.
Weight loss shouldn’t be a constant battle against your brain, body, and scale. Some weeks, you may not lose weight, but that doesn’t mean you’re not putting in the effort! With consistent effort and exercise variation, the weight will come off in due time. Focus on healthy behaviors instead of the number beneath your feet.