Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why your diet is failing you...

Have you been yo-yoing between diets only to find yourself gaining the weight back after you return to normal eating? Do you drop weight quickly in the first week of your diet and then plateau? Do you find yourself exhausted and craving foods your whole diet? Then you're doing it wrong! Many diet choices today have dire consequences for your body metabolism and your blood sugar especially if  you are eliminating carbs altogether or limiting yourself to a select number of calories per day. Today I'm going to share with you how your body actually uses the food you eat and some common misconceptions about dieting. I'll also give you some healthy options to start losing weight and changing your metabolism for smarter food choices that automatically melt the weight off.

Diet myth #1: Eat less calories. 
Your body is designed to use the calories you eat, however when we eat less calories our bodies actually adapt. Dieters have long used the mentality that when we eat less calories our bodies will break down fat and we will thus lose weight. However, what most people don't realize is that your body metabolism adjusts to the amount of calories you take in. So when you starve yourself by eating a very low calorie diet, your metabolism will slow down naturally. For example, if your normal metabolism burns 2000 calories per day and you start eating 1000 calories per day then your body's metabolism will adjust to burn only 1000 calories per day.

Diet myth #2: Don't eat carbohydrates.
When you think of carbs do you think of breads and pastas only? Well then you're wrong! All fruits and vegetables are actually made of carbohydrates and they also supply nutrients and minerals that are needed for every day body function. When you eat fruits and vegetables they get partially digested until they travel to your small intestines where the "good" bacteria are able to break them down and use them to speed your digestive tract along. The "good" bacteria in your intestines (about 5 pounds worth) need carbohydrates to survive and thrive in your intestines and a small portion of carbohydrates are also used in your brain. Most of the fuel your body itself uses and needs is actually contained in protein but carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables are needed for a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system as well.

Diet myth #3: Eat smaller portions of protein.
Like I just mentioned in #2, your body needs mostly protein to survive, so we need to make sure we are getting enough. Your body tends to break down muscle before fat, especially if you're not using your muscles enough. This can lead to weight loss (muscle tends to weigh more than fat) but when you're losing muscle your metabolism will also drop. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn everyday. So if you're not eating enough protein, you're going to breakdown muscle and lower your metabolism which will set  you up for weight loss failure. As a general rule, most women need to aim for 4 servings of protein everyday and men should aim for 5 servings of protein per day.

So how can you change these myths?
1.) Eat smarter calories. Don't pig out on junk food and sugary drinks, but aim for 4 to 5 servings of protein daily with plenty of fruit and vegetable sources of carbohydrates.
2.) Fill up on carbohydrates. Fruit and vegetable sources of carbohydrates will actually swell with water and fill you up faster and keep you full longer than starchy pastas and breads.
3.) Eat enough protein. Your body needs protein and your calorie burning muscles are made of it. Eat enough so you don't lose muscle but burn fat instead! Women should aim for 4 servings daily and men for 5, but if you're active you need to add at least 1 more serving of protein daily.
4.) Move your muscles! Move those muscles to raise your metabolism and burn off the calories you eat plus the energy stored in your fat. Weight resistance exercise is best to build muscles and keep your bones strong, but if your bones are frail or you haven't exercised in awhile then start slow. Try walking with weights on your ankles and wrists and graduate to jogging with them. Arrange for a family hike and picnic to get everyone involved and moving.

If you're suffering any pain while exercising or moving you should check with a doctor. Chiropractors are a great solution for those with muscle strains and stiffness that are preventing people from getting the exercise they need or enjoying the activities they love. As an added bonus, most chiropractors can get you in the office within a day or two for treatment so you can return to living well faster.