Q: I’ve tried dieting many times, but I’ve always gained the weight back. Why is this?
A: Unfortunately, you are not alone. If diets worked, why would anyone try them more than once?
Diets will always fail. While restricting calories or carbohydrates may initially cause weight loss, both methods will lead to an immovable plateau. Even worse, calorie and carbohydrate restriction cause low blood sugar, leading to low energy, cravings and most importantly, a loss of lean muscle mass. Because fat is primarily burned within muscle, and muscle increases the rate at which your body burns calories, losing muscle slows your metabolism.
Inevitably, once you reintroduce the calories and carbohydrates you restricted (you can’t starve forever), you will regain the weight plus extra body fat due to the loss of lean muscle mass and a slower metabolism. This makes it even more challenging to lose weight the next time around and leads to yo-yo dieting.
Q: How can I lose weight permanently?
A: The key is creating internal balance through blood sugar stabilization. When blood sugar is low, the body burns muscle for fuel. When blood sugar spikes, the body stores fat. When blood sugar is stabilized, the body releases stored fat, allowing the muscle to burn it up as fuel. This allows weight and body fat percentage to drop, energy levels to increase and lean muscle to be built.
Q: So, how do I balance my blood sugar?
A: Three simple steps:
• Eat within one hour of waking and every three to four hours throughout the day. Your body is a “refuel as it goes machine,” and it needs to be fed on a regular basis. Think of a baby, for example. Babies eat every three to four hours when hungry and stop when they are satisfied. Our bodies should be fueled in the same way.
• Eat in threes (balance of complete protein, fat and carbohydrates) at every meal.
• Eat smaller meals, roughly the same size (same amount of calories). Your body can only process a certain amount of food at once, and eating smaller meals every few hours will keep blood sugar levels steady.
Shannon Jungman is the club manager and Trainer at Anytime Fitness in Johnston. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at Johnston@anytimefitness.com .