When you've decided to start losing weight, it's normal to want to see results immediately. But if you're tempted to take dieting to the extreme with the hope of losing pounds more quickly, take a moment to reconsider. The path to true, lifelong weight loss is through healthy lifestyle changes. Drastic, unsustainable strategies may produce short-term results, but will backfire in the long run and damage to your overall health. Here, Gabriel Patterson, Winnipeg fitness coach and nutrition expert, shares five of the most common crash-dieting strategies that you should avoid.
Going hungry is a terrible way to lose weight. Your body uses food as fuel and obtains necessary nutrients, minerals and hydration from the food you eat. While skipping a meal may save you a few calories, consistently forgoing meals will slow down your metabolism. Skipping meals, especially breakfast, robs your body of the fuel it needs to lead a productive day. Without food, you'll be tired and less alert. Additionally, starving yourself will likely lead to binge eating in the future as your body tries to get back the calories you've withheld.
Avoiding Entire Food Groups
Unless you've decided to go vegan or vegetarian, avoiding entire food groups is usually unnecessary. Dairy products are rich in calcium and iron, meats are rich in protein, and whole grains contain fiber, iron and B vitamins. Dark chocolate has antioxidants and nuts have healthy fats. Rid yourself of the idea that a single food group is going to make you fat, and instead, make judicious choices and eat in moderation. If you want to avoid something, avoid highly processed snacks and fast food.
Fasting is a popular practice, not just for weight loss but in some cases for spiritual reasons. Cultures all over the world have practiced fasting for centuries. However, fasting (or cleansing) for weight loss isn't necessary or sustainable. Our bodies are designed to eliminate waste efficiently and effectively. It doesn't need a period of starvation or a diet of highly acidic juices for several days to kick-start fat elimination. You'll make excellent weight loss progress simply by eliminating bad foods and replacing them with wholesome, fresh produce and lean meats.
Working Out Too Much
Exercise burns calories, which leads to weight loss; therefore, a weight loss program should include a balance of cardio and weight training. However, overtraining isn't a healthy, sustainable approach to weight loss, and working out too much can cause your body to burn your own muscle tissue for energy. Although you'll be losing weight, you’ll be losing muscle instead of fat; it's muscle that creates sexy, toned curves.
Existing on Supplements
You may try to rationalize under eating by taking vitamin supplements. Although supplements provide you with some nutrients, they don't provide your body with full array of vitamins and minerals, nor do they nourish your body. Taking supplements without eating a healthy diet is like giving your car a full tune-up, only to fail to put gas in it.
If you're overweight, losing the excess is a wonderfully healthy thing to do; remember to love your body while you're doing it. Gabriel Patterson warns against resorting to extreme measures and promotes gentle, sustainable weight loss methods that will help you keep the weight off long term.
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