Let’s begin by understanding the way the body works. The body is most efficient when calories taken in equal those expended in activity. The quality of those calories matters. Nutrient dense foods give us the most “bang for the buck.” Cells use glucose to fuel metabolic activity, which comes from the carbs we eat. Excess intake is stored as fat.
When we gain weight, we increase the number and size of fat cells. When we lose weight, the cells shrink, but the number of cells remain. Further, empty fat cells want to fill back up. That’s what causes yo-yo weight gain and loss.
Another issue when calories are reduced, is that the body prefers to break down muscle mass rather than fat stores. When dieting ends and the regular diet is resumed, fewer calories are needed, so weight is more easily regained – but it is fat, not the lean muscle mass lost. The end result is that we have replaced lean body mass with fat. Why is this so?
Each kilogram of fat tissue burns only 1 Kcal of energy
Each kilogram of muscle tissue burns 22 Kcal of energy
That is why it is desirable to have a greater percentage of lean muscle mass than fat.
Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging and discouraged. Here are 2 things you can do to make weight loss stick and improve your health.
Exercise. I can’t stress this enough. Exercise has its obvious cardiac benefit, but it also builds that lean body mass that so efficiently burns calories.
Give up traditional or fad diets. THEY DON’T WORK! I repeat, “DIETS DON’T WORK.” “But,” you say, “I lost __ lbs.” Yes, you did. It was lean body tissue – and, you gained the weight back – and it’s now fat – and you may have done it multiple times, increasing the percentage of body fat.
Instead, change one thing at a time as you endeavor to change the way you eat for the rest of your life. Lose weight slowly; no more than 1 lb. per week, for sustained weight loss.
Make a commitment to your health. Enjoy advanced age by remaining fit and healthy. See other posts on this blog for more information.