New Year’s Day is approaching, and soon we’ll be bombarded with suggestions about how to lose weight. Many of us will see the results of our holiday indulgence on our hips and waistlines, and we’ll resolve to get rid of the extra pounds as fast as we can. No wonder losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions.
That may not be the best solution. While being overweight is unhealthy, losing weight without maintaining healthy eating habits is bad for you, too. Here’s why you should forget about quick weight loss plans, and eat clean all year round.
Yo-yo dieting can be worse than not dieting at all
The secret to losing weight is simple. Eat fewer calories than you expend. If all you care about is losing weight fast, what you eat doesn’t matter that much. Many of the quick weight loss diets that you see in magazines – like “Lose Twenty Pounds in Time for Your Wedding” or “Get a Bikini Body in Ten Days” – work this way. They severely restrict the amount of calories you eat or the types of food you can eat, which are, ultimately, the same thing. After all, how many grapefruits or bowls of cabbage soup can you eat in a day?
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In 2010, Mark Haub, a nutritionist at Kansas State University, proved this by losing 27 pounds in two months while eating Twinkies and other kinds of junk food snacks instead of healthy meals. Although Haub did not appear to suffer any ill effects, because the diet only lasted a short time, there is no way of knowing what would have happened had he continued with his Twinkie diet.
In fact, the problem with fad diets is that they’re impossible to maintain. They don’t provide you with the energy to support your metabolism so you can get through your day. Eventually, your metabolism slows down, so you expend fewer calories and your weight starts creeping up again. You also miss out on vital nutrients, which can make you feel terrible. You almost certainly don’t have the energy to exercise.
Besides, very limiting diets can be boring. Human beings are omnivores – we need, and crave, variety in our diets. We also eat for pleasure as well as sustenance. After days or weeks of eating the same foods and nothing else, you’re bound to succumb to temptation and grab a sugary or high-fat treat, especially when your diet makes you feel miserable anyway.
So you go on a crash diet, lose weight, give up and gain even more than you started with. This yo-yo dieting puts a strain on your body and is associated with metabolic and cardiovascular problems.
In fact, 80% of all diets fail in the long run. Most are impossible to maintain.
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You can be skinny and still full of fat
It doesn’t sound possible, but you can look slim on the outside but still have fat around your organs, including your heart, kidneys and liver. This organ fat, known as visceral fat, can be responsible for an overweight person’s protruding belly. However, if you’re thin, it can be invisible, particularly if your clothes can hide a slight tummy bulge. High levels of visceral fat are associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease and with low testosterone levels in men.
The skinny fat person is often someone who eats lots of junk food, but overall doesn’t consume many calories; the busy woman who skips lunch and then has a candy bar to ease her hunger pains. With their clothes off, these people look flabby, not toned. They have little lean muscle mass because they don’t get much exercise. They are just too weak.
How can clean eating help?
Clean eating isn’t a diet. It’s a lifestyle. When you eat clean, you don’t have to count calories, and you don’t have to eat the same foods day in and day out. Just eat foods that are nutritionally dense, full of antioxidants and don’t contain lots of toxins that can harm you.
You’ll feel great when you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. You won’t be tempted to eat more, so you won’t have to worry about excess calories, and you’ll have plenty of energy for the gym.
The best eating plan is a healthy one you can maintain and enjoy all of your life. Switch to clean eating and you’ll be healthy for a lifetime, not just until the end of January.