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Crash diets and long term results

Updated on January 17, 2016

How much weight is it safe to lose in a week?

The NHS recommend the safe amount of weight to lose in a week is 1 to 2lb

Crash Diets

If you are reading this article then the chances are you already know how to lose weight, Cut back on sweet and high fat foods, eat smaller portions, eat more vegetables, exercise more.

Sounds easy doesn’t it?

So why are crash diets so popular? The kind that promise you will lose 7lbs in 7 days or drop a dress size in a week! and why do we try them over and again when we fail to maintain a stable weight. According to the research by the university of Pennsylvania, only 5% of crash dieters keep the weight off. Datamonitor found that 99% of dieters re-gained all or more of the weight lost within a year.

We are eating BIGGER portions than ever before

According to World Cancer Research Fund, Burgers have doubled in size since 1980

Why we gain weight

Let’s look at why we gain weight in the first instance.

* Our bodies are designed to safeguard our survival, if we consume more energy than we use, we store it as fat against leaner times, a hangover from our hunter-gatherer days when food was harder to get.

* Food is fundamental to us as social beings, we eat to celebrate, to console, we feed our loved ones as a sign of caring, we give food as gifts, as treats, we eat as part of a ritual-Sunday lunch falls into this category- and we eat because it’s pleasurable.

* We can also use food as an emotional crutch, if you’ve had a bad day you may turn to chocolate or ice-cream because “you deserve it”.

* When we deprive ourselves of food, when dieting for example, we may experience cravings, this can lead to bingeing.

Reducing calories for weight loss

You only need to consume around 600 calories a day less than you need to lose weight, That's just 2 snickers bars or 4 slices of bacon or 100g of M&M's!

Why we lose 7lbs in 7 days

When we deprive our bodies of food it begins to use up it's emergency rations, This is glycogen, a type of energy held in solution ready for this kind of "emergency" situation. We typically store around 3 to 7lb of this substance and it's the first thing our bodies turn to for energy when food is scarce, It's designed to enable us to go out and find the food our bodies need to survive. It's a hangover from our hunter/gatherer background and helped us to survive. This is why we can easily lose up to 7lbs in a short space of time. However, as soon as we begin to eat a sufficient amount of food, our bodies quickly replenish these emergency stores and often add a little bit extra as a safeguard against future famine.

Should you avoid crash diets?

Fast weight loss diets promise just that, but when you go back to eating the way you were before, the weight will go back on just as fast, often with a little bit extra, until the next quick-fix diet and the dieting merry-go round carries on.

Also, it may have taken many months or even years for you to have gained excess weight, your body and appetite regulators will take quite some time to adjust.

When you Crash diet, you will always lose some muscle mass, this lowers your BMR (basal metabolic rate) the amount of energy your body needs to sustain itself. Increasing the amount of muscle mass will raise your BMR and make you less likely to gain weight.

Overall, crash dieting does the opposite of what you want, in the short term you lose muscle, in the long term you gain fat and you mess up your relationship with food.

If you want to crash diet...

If you do decide to try a short crash diet make sure you follow it for no more than the recommended time and follow on with a sensible, healthy, nutritious diet for longer term results.


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