Restricting food intake has long been considered an effective way to lose weight. But when you starve, you are actually conditioning your body to gain weight. How come when you only eat one meal a day, skip meals, or hardly eat any calories you still don’t lose weight and continue to put on body fat? Well, your body is smart and it has learnt through evolution that when there is no food it has to go into a storing mode. Your body thinks it’s starving so when meals are skipped your body releases fat-storing lipogenic enzymes and decreases the number of lipolytic fat-burning enzymes.
Another important factor in losing fat is controlling your blood sugar levels. If blood sugar drops (hypoglycemia) for extended periods of time you release glucoccorticoids (stress hormones including cortisol and adrenaline). These hormones trigger the release of glycogen from the liver to increase blood sugar to prevent the brain from going into a coma. If you continue to not eat (to stabilise blood sugar), cortisol will continue to be released and your body will begin gluconeogenesis. Cortisol breaks down protein stores (your lean muscle) in order to elevate your blood sugar. Exposure to excessive cortisol over time kills brain cells and increases the rate of ageing.
High blood sugar or hyperglycemia triggers your pancreas to release insulin, which tells the body to store sugar (which, if not used, turns to fat). This usually leads to a blood sugar crash, and then what most people do is reach for a quick snack, usually in the form of a processed/refined carbohydrates or coffee, which starts the cycle all over again. Long term this can lead to insulin resistance, adrenal fatigue, and other lifestyle diseases.
If you have ever lost weight on the scales but your body fat didn’t decrease then you lost muscle mass. This is oe of the worst things that can happen for fat loss because your muscle increases your metabolic rate. You have become too catabolic and as a result, will be constantly breaking down bodily tissue and become more likely to be injured due to stress on your body. It is important to make changes in your lifestyle, nutrition, and exercise programs in order to keep anabolic so you can start to repair and rebuild your body and muscle tissue by releasing growth hormones.
As you can see, yo-yo dieting, skipping meals, eating processed/refined carbohydrates and cutting calories all have a huge effect on your hormonal system. This will effect your emotions, energy levels, and mental function, which will probably start another cycle of bad choices. If the cycle continues long term it leads disfunction and stress on different body systems, obesity, all sorts off aches, pains, and even disease. Remember, your body is a ‘system of systems’ and if one goes out of balance then that will cause stress on the other systems. The bottom line is, the longer you’ve been yo-yo dieting or eating poorly, the longer it will take for your body’s systems to normalise.
As you can see, yo-yo dieting or skipping meals will not help you to get healthy instead it will auto destruct your body’s system long term and it will be very hard for you to normalise it again. It will take some time before your system normalise again and you can regain your health. Following are top 10 summarized tips for healthy fat loss
- Eat right, meaning stay away from all those refined carbohydrates and high sugars and fats.
- Prepare food in advance
- Eat every two to four hours to keep your body in anabolic state
- Eat four to six meals a day
- Eat more complex carbohydrates and eat more low GI carbohydrates
- Eat more of the natural foods
- Stay away from stimulants and simple sugars
- Don’t drink soft drinks or juices that are not freshly squeezed
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat organic produce and free range organic meats
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Good luck and stay motivated!