Well that’s obvious, isn’t it?
Or is it?
Think about it for a moment: how many diets and ‘supplements’ (using the term loosely) are marketed using the term weight-loss.
Why is this, do you think? Simple: it’s because they talk of rapid results and nothing else. Because what else really matters? That’s the language that grabs the most attention and revenue, so who cares if it’s a manipulative call to action that usually accompanies dubious research, overexaggerated promises, and is shielded by a comprehensive liability disclaimer – read the small-print folks.
I was recently approached by another ‘trainer’ who asked if I’d be interested in marketing a certain ‘diet’ supplement to my clients. My answer: ‘hell no! because they don’t work!’
She actually had the audacity to suggest I take a look at the science before a rejected her potentially lucrative business offer.
I pointed out that I was aware of her product, and all the fancy words in the world couldn’t alter the fact that its entire approach was based on severe caloric restriction. There were few ingredients I could pronounce and very little that could be construed as actual nutrition. In fact, the product is simply a vehicle to extort money.
I suggested that if she were in fact a trainer herself, then she ought to hand back her qualifications in shame. Needless to say, the conversation didn’t end well!
OK, so I may have handled the situation better. But damn-it, this infuriates me; it’s damaging the very people who need our help the most.
- Severe calorie restriction leads to significant loss of muscle. As the body enters starvation-mode, it will cannibalise any amino-acids it can find to nourish itself. People seeking to lose fat, always need to pay attention to protein intake. It preserves muscle, while allowing fat to burn. After severe restriction, when caloric intake is subsequently increased: fat is regained and muscle is not. The person in question’s fat percentage ends up being even higher, and they end up weaker!
- When calories are dangerously restricted the metabolism slows right down as it goes into survival-mode. Even low-calorie approaches will hit a plateau, and then where do you go from there?
- Hormones will now be out of balance, with the body unable to maintain homeostasis. It will desperately guard existing fat-stores as it never knows where the next ‘proper’ meal will be coming from.
When severe calorie restriction is the sole premise of any program, there is never a long-term strategy in place. What do you do when you’ve dropped X-amount of weight? The answer is partly that the diet industry is built upon repeat customers; plain and simple. Where’s the education? Where’s the follow-up? Where’s the ethical approach that ensures people have the skills necessary to maintain long-term health?
The Consequences of Severe Caloric Restriction:
- It’s psychologically damaging. I honestly believe that anyone who can handle a sustained period of starvation is incredibly strong and driven. It’s tragic that they end up doubting this very quality, as yet another miracle-diet lets them down.
- With no sound education having been imparted, the dieter is left to fend for themselves and often resumes previous eating habits.
- Having starved oneself and turned the body into a fat-storing machine, every ingested calorie is jealously guarded by the body, resulting in rapid re-gain.
- People are left believing that there’s literally nothing they can do and that their life is unalterable. This often includes health issues that could certainly be alleviated, even eradicated, by a sensible program aimed at body-recomposition.
- Having not been able to manage their own bodies, people unwittingly pass on eating habits to their children, and the cycle continues.
This is why FAT-LOSS is an entirely different beast. It’s a term generally used by people who’re savvy about the realty of what it takes to enable people to manage their body composition.
Fat Loss can take longer. OK, so that’s a bummer, right? Well not if you consider that you get to keep the muscle that your body so desperately needs. Pound for pound, you will get stronger, as you steadily reduce the excess weight the body has to carry around.
Intelligent Fat Loss programs will incorporate a strong educational element that imparts knowledge about food in a way that leaves the user empowered to make better choices. Understanding is power!
Fat Loss programs don’t have to involve extreme hunger. Building an eating pattern around nutrient-dense food helps you to feel satisfied. The body gets the nutrients it needs and doesn’t have to release hunger-inducing hormones that induce cravings for further re-feeds.
We are all burning a combination of carbohydrates and fat for energy. An effective eating pattern can successfully emphasize which macro is prioritised. What could be better than training your body to burn existing stores, rather than relying solely upon what’s being ingested day to day.
Sustainability is the best part:
- When a pattern of healthy eating is established, it becomes habit. A good habit that supports overall health rather than feeling like a chore.
- Taste buds change, and you find you only want good quality food.
- Gut biology changes to support your new food choices and reject your previous ones. This amazing bit of biology actually stops you craving junk-food.
- When you eat nutrient-dense food, there is little need to snack in-between meals.
- Energy levels increase.
- You get to maintain your desired weight and not be hungry.
In fact, there are too many benefits to list.
Remember, it’s not the amount of weight lost that matters; it’s the quality.