Todays mainstream has created an instant gratification mentality in us as it relates to Dieting. The headlines and banner ads on the internet read “Lose 10 pounds in one week” and “Have a Beach Body in less than a month.” These “crash” diets as I will call them are unrealistic, unhealthy, and need to be debunked. First, losing that much weight in such a short time can be mostly attributed to water weight, some lean muscle, and not necessarily fat weight. Losing fat weight is the ultimate goal and cannot be achieved in just one week.
For simplicity in this brief article, the human body’s weight can simply be divided into two categories: Lean muscle mass and fat. If the average female weighs 135 pounds and has 30% body fat, then she has 40.5 pounds of fat (135 lb x .30 = 40.5 lb). Your doctor, nutritionist, or skin caliper can help you understand your body’s percentage of fat.
Water weight can fluctuate day to day in pounds, which is one of the hidden reasons people get so easily frustrated with their diet plans from day to day when they don’t see immediate results (so STOP stepping on the scale every single day!). We know that water is vitally important to sustain life and digestion, so depletion is not healthy.
Some fad diets are proponents of “no carbs” which leaves us with protein and fat sources and water has to be present to aid in digestion. High protein diets absolutely must contain equal amounts of water. How much water? Above .5 ounce per pound of body weight, so a woman weighing 135 pounds will need 60 to 70 ounces of water per day. Really no matter what diet you choose, this water formula is a good daily keystone.
Another problem with crash diets is that they often reduce lean body mass before they reduce body fat. If a woman weighing 135 lbs. (with 30% body fat) hypothetically loses 20 pounds in a month with the new fad diet that does not include resistance or cardio training, then she more than likely sacrificed lean body mass as a greater percentage of fat loss. Now she weighs 115 pounds with body fat of 27%. This translates to a net loss of 3% in body fat (approximately 3.75 pounds of body fat weight) and a 16.25 pound loss in lean muscle mass. The crash diet’s trade-off was not beneficial.
In his book, “Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle” Tom Venuto states that the word “Diet” implies something you are planning on starting and stopping, once you achieve the desired result. But Tom goes further to explain that you have to establish a different mentality and create permanent life habits, versus jumping from fad diet to fad diet to achieve results. Changing your eating habits coupled with an active lifestyle is truly the answer to a healthy life.
Furthermore, a transformation in your body isn’t going to be solved with a diet, it’s only going to be achieved with a transformation in your mind. Fitness gurus, local trainers, infomercials, and food planning companies have developed great fitness and weight-loss systems that have been proven to work, but if you can’t change your mental and physical habits, then those systems are simply no good. So let me restate the title of the article, “Fad Diets Don’t Work. Life Changes Do!” and you are worth it!!