It’s not Weight Loss – It’s a Lifestyle Change

lifestyle change

Many times over the past 12 months or so on this blog, I have tried to emphasize the importance of losing weight within a structure of a balanced approach to dieting. In other words, no quick fixes but more of a cultural adjustment. I haven’t quite been able to give this approach a name – until now. It’s a Lifestyle Change.

I happened to be reading an article about the effects of dieting on patients with Type 2 Diabetes. The consensus is that dieting as of itself which may involve large amounts of weight loss within a relatively short period of time, is just not something that doctors choose to recommend to people in this medical community. Doctors prefer, and dietitians heartily agree, that a “lifestyle change” is much more beneficial and healthy. Couldn’t agree more! Having said that, and bear in mind I am definitely NOT a doctor and definitely NOT medically trained, I can only imagine that any practice that involves reducing weight, lowering blood sugar and lowering blood pressure, can only be considered a positive step for a Type 2 Diabetes patient.

Remember that a “lifestyle change” involves not only the food and nutritional aspect, but that there is an exercise component too. We’ve always talked about how a well thought out exercise program is always a help to losing weight. Many times it involves a lifestyle change because our daily routines become seriously affected. With dieting, we’re just changing what we eat but exercise involves a huge commitment that can be an inconvenience.

The core principle that I’m hammering home here is that in order to lose weight for the long-term, you cannot just rely on reducing calories and jogging twice a week until you get down to your target weight. 75% of people who do that eventually gain 90% of the weight right back. The reason? Because they chose not to make the “lifestyle change”. Their attitudes and routines all came flooding back once the weight target was reached. Those people took a large intake of breath, a huge sigh, and it was “Katie bar the Door and someone please get me the keys to the ice-cream cabinet!”. With the lifestyle change, the weight loss target really is just the “first mile-marker” if you will, because now, it’s all about keeping the weight off.

Trust me, especially for people in my age group of the over-50’s, if you reject the “lifestyle change” then good luck to you because no matter how many laps you run, or how many pounds you bench-press, or how many salads you eat for lunch instead of a cheeseburger, as soon as all of that stops, it’s over. It might as well not have happened. I know, because I’ve done it (or not done it as the case may be). I understand how hard it is to make that type of commitment, but just as we said at the start of this article, the Type 2 Diabetic patients have no choice, and for them, it works.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be focusing on certain common medical conditions and how they relate to weight loss and dieting. There’s no doubt that in cases where there are extenuating medical circumstances, medical advice should be sought out BEFORE embarking on any dieting or exercise plan.

Fasting to Lose Weight: Good or Bad?

fasting to lose weight

As we’ve discussed many times on this blog, there are many different avenues to follow to get to your goal of losing weight. Some are good – some not so good. One suggestion involves fasting to lose weight. Does it work or does it cause more issues along the way? Let’s find out.

Fasting on the face of it should be helpful to lose weight. Just by examining the math of consuming fewer calories than you expend has to reduce weight. The question is whether there are any other more dangerous issues that lie ahead as a result of starving the body of essential nutrients. Let’s be clear. Fasting is the term used for eliminating food and drink intake from a diet that is of a nutritional nature. It does not include the elimination of water, vitamins or mineral and vitamin supplements.

Let me share a story. Back in the 1960’s, a 27yr old man in Dundee, Scotland who weighed 465lbs showed up at the local emergency room asking for help to lose weight. He wanted no food at all, but just enough expert monitoring to keep him healthy. The doctors agreed and after 3 days he had lost 5lbs. He left the hospital and continued the routine over the next 382 DAYS! The man got down to 180lbs wet through and never regained the weight back. He did take water, and vitamin supplements but his body survived with no lasting after-effects. The point is that fasting seems to be a definite tactic for losing weight. It does work under the correct and safest conditions.

However, there are a few considerations here that need examination. Is it really the food reduction that is the driving force or are there other factors at work here? Let’s look at a few of them:

1. Fasting decreases insulin levels which in turn increases the body’s ability to burn fat

2. The body hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline increase in the body during a fast which causes it to expend more energy at rest. Hence a reduction in muscle fat.

3. Growth hormone secretion is reduced during fasting. They are also fat-burning hormones too which suggests that this will have a negative effect on the weight loss process in this case.

4. Fat oxidation increases while “lean mass” remains constant. What we want to do here is burn fat, and not muscle, and certainly not reduce bone mass. That would be unhealthy.

5. Fasting seems to show clearly measurable results in terms of fat loss which would tend to increase a dieter’s resolve to lose weight as the weight loss is visible and relatively fast.

6. It seems that the most difficult and irritating side-effect are the hunger pangs and the sense of feeling tired and hungry which are natural reactions that the body uses to tell the brain it needs to eat. These effects tend to wane over time depending on how long the fasting period is.

The consensus appears that fasting to lose weight is a big help in a dieters weight loss travels. However, personally, I’m not a fan. I believe that it causes too many instances of vitamin deprivation, protein loss, and general feelings of ill-health. If a person insists on applying the fasting to lose weight principle, I would sternly recommend that a doctor or dietitian be consulted and regular check-ups conducted to keep track of body processes.

If you decide to try it out, let us know how it works!