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Why Restricting Calories Never Works for Weight Loss


After the dust and cookie crumbs from the Holiday festivities settled, many adults made a resolution not only to take off the Christmas pounds but to get into better shape over all. By now, you might or might not still be carrying on with your good intentions. 

Either way, here's some encouragement for you.

You're not alone if you're on a diet or thinking about starting one. On any given day, there are about 60 million U.S. Americans on a weight reduction diet. 

Out of a population of about 300 million, that means one in five of the people you might encounter today are right now in the process of attempting to take off extra pounds, whether they need to or not. 

During the course of this year, if data from the previous several years are predictive, half of the entire population will start a diet in the hopes of losing some weight, meaning that every alternate person you meet today will try to lose weight this year. Among women, 3 out of 4 feel they need to work and shed some weight.

It is no wonder, with a market that lucrative and widespread, that the dieting industry is so competitive and saturated. And it is no wonder the products - from books, to pills, to exercise machines - are often focused more on what will sell than what will work. Buyer beware. 

An understanding of just a few key principles would help many people choose wisely among the hundreds of different  plans available. Rather than starting a diet plan that is inherently flawed and doomed to fail, one particular fact could prevent you from suffering that fate of 98% of all dieters. 

Research has proven beyond question that 'traditional' diets that are based on a restriction of calories simply do not work. At all. They actually backfire and cause weight gain!

In a nutshell, here's why simply reducing calories will not ever work. Our bodies are programmed in miraculous ways for survival, and the part of our brain that does the work to keep us alive couldn't care less about fitting into a smaller sized pair of jeans. 

Faced with a radical reduction of food, the alarms go off and our bodies set to work: conserving energy, creating more fat, slowing down metabolism, and engaging in a battery of survival mechanisms that keep us from starving. In the process of restricting calories, people inadvertently trigger these "starvation responses," which make weight loss very difficult and which guarantee that when the diet is over, all the lost weight will be regained.

We fall for diet programs that defy common sense because there is so much conflicting information, so much powerful marketing competing for our dollars, and so much, well, desperation. 

We want something quick, easy, effective - benefits that are promised to us by many diet products and plans. However, low-calorie is over. Low-fat is history. High protein is on the wane. And low-carb is on its way out.

What does really work then? It's deceptively simple. Eat the foods our bodies have evolved to eat, in proper proportions and in proper combinations and it will work. Those combinations are not common knowledge in today's culture of convenience food, but they are known and proven through many sound research studies. 

A recommended resource is a short and direct book by Dr. Phillip Lipetz called "The Good Calorie Diet." Written in 1994, the principles it details of which foods we should eat in what combination are as old as humankind. The studies on which the book is based are sound and do work.

The concepts in the book are easy to understand. The basics boil down to a few principles. The main two I'll give here so you can get started on the road to changing your eating habits for permanent and real weight loss. 

Eat whole food, not processed (that is, avoid foods that come in a package, can, or box). Avoid combining animal protein with starchy carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, pasta, rice) or fruit. This is aligned with the way our ancestors ate, and it makes sense to eat according to the diet humans have thrived upon for millennia.

Author: Grace M. Navarro

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