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The Dreaded Spiral of "Yo-Yo Dieting" By Eugene Thong C.S.C.S
How come every time I go on a diet, it gets tougher to lose weight each time?
Because dieting - if done improperly - will stomp your metabolism into the ground!
Simply stated, your body has learned to become “thrifty” and adapted to its situation.
Well, what would happen if you suddenly lost your job?
Hopefully, if you’re an intelligent and resourceful person, you’d find another way of obtaining income. In the meantime, you’d cut back on some or all of your spending (or find ways to hack away the “non-essentials”) to make sure that the rent and bills still get paid, so that you don’t end up with the electricity cut off or out on the street.
In short, you’d adapt to your newfound situation. It wouldn’t be pleasant or comfortable, but you’d survive until you found that next job.
Your body’s survival mechanism is no different. In fact, the process it undergoes when you go on and off diets is remarkably similar:
Your body has a “household budget” as well – a minimum number of calories that are required to run all of your daily functions, so you don’t die (little things, like digestion, respiration, heartbeats, thinking, elimination, etc.).
Thinking you can bully your body into losing that stubborn fat, you dramatically reduce calorie intake. You start skipping meals. You start to call your morning cup of coffee “breakfast.”
Panic alarms sound loudly throughout your system. Instantly, your liver begins mobilizing and breaking down muscle tissue to create some fast energy (by converting that hard-earned, metabolically active muscle tissue to sugar).
Your body also undergoes other metabolic and hormonal shifts that conserve energy, so it doesn’t have to “spend” as much to keep things running (keeps the costs down).
Your body then stays in this downgraded metabolic state, mostly due to the lost muscle tissue. When you break the diet and return to your “normal” eating habits (95% of people do!), your body is primed to soak up all those calories like a sponge.
Even worse, you accumulate fat faster because your metabolism is lowered (causing you to burn fewer calories daily) and your intake is the same as it was before (not down-adjusted to account for the drop in metabolism).
End result: A fatter, more frustrated you!
Definitely not the outcome we’re looking for.
So what can I do to avoid this scenario?
The best advice I can give you is to forget everything you think you know about dieting, fat loss, and weight management, and go read our foundations article, immediately.
Hey, you don’t have to follow our diet plan, our exercise recommendations, or any of our strategies, but at the very least, you owe it to yourself to find out what happens on a physiological level, so you don’t make the same mistakes 95% of people do.
Turn yourself into an informed consumer!
We’re here to offer you help in reaching your fat loss goals. Avoid tapping into your muscle as mere fuel for your body – download our free Calorie Counter sheet and start writing stuff down (it’s included FREE when you sign up for our free weekly newsletter).
Of course, there are no shortcuts to the body of your dreams. Although we haven’t discovered a magic “leaning” pill, we’ve got the next best thing: A compilation of 61 of the best tips, tricks, and strategies for channeling your inner ideal body that we call “The Black Book of Secrets.”
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About the Author:
not helping clients cultivate their own inner 6-packs, Eugene can be found
arm barring opponents at Renzo Gracie's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy or
sailing through the air on his snowboard. Read Eugene's semi-weekly musings
on exercise, fitness, and fat loss
at his blog
Is cardio the best way to get toned? I'm a mom just starting to get back into working out after a long layoff off due to work and family commitments. I haven't been to the gym in a little over 2 years even though I kept the membership and I feel like I'm starting from scratch. I need to lose about 30 pounds and want to shape up as soon as possible.