Get thin fast remedies are on every page of every magazine it seems, and there are a whole host of “quick” or “pain free fixes” on the market. On top of this you could add any number of the latest fad diets, and the unlimited supply of slimming snacks, drinks and even get thin gum, just waiting to take your cash! Slimming and diets are big business, however sadly they don’t work, and often there’s a hefty price to pay.
“Lose ten pounds in a week!”
Next time you see one of these claims, just ask yourself ‘ten pounds of what?’ It is only physically possible to lose a maximum of 1kg of fat in a week, and you don’t want to lose anything else! If you adopt a crash diet, and suddenly cut your food intake dramatically, your body may assume there’s a famine on the way and start saving your fat stores by burning muscle instead.
Added to this, you will probably lose a lot of water and glycogen (sugar stores), making your weight drop dramatically, and making you think everything is just fine. However, things won’t be just fine at all. In fact, the combination of the water loss and the muscle tissues that you have lost, is very bad news indeed. The reason is simple; you only want to lose fat! And since your muscles are the most efficient fat burning machinery in your body, why would you want to shrink them? During crash dieting you will lose 1lb of muscle for every 1lb of fat, and following several weeks of crash dieting, you will almost certainly “hit the wall” and weight loss will become more and more difficult to achieve.
Your body is smarter than you think…
…and in times of potential famine, it will slow down metabolism in order to avoid starvation. By reducing your lean mass and your basal metabolic rate (BMR – the energy required to simply make you tick over) your body can now survive on less food than it could before. Therefore the body has successfully adapted itself to require fewer calories, allowing it to maintain its stores of fat, and avoid potential starvation for longer. When a crash diet inevitably comes to an end, and you begin to eat normally again, your BMR will have considerably reduced, and your calorie requirement will be less than before. Returning to your previous eating habits will now create a larger energy surplus than before you started the diet. Severe calorific restrictions of this type can suppress the metabolism by as much as 45%. The more severe the restriction, the more the body will cling to its fat stores, and metabolism will slow further. Furthermore, after following a crash diet, there is a phenomenon known as “rebound binge eating syndrome” which is the body’s attempt to quickly get you back to your previous weight – most serial dieters instinctively understand this concept! For this reason people always pile on the pounds very quickly following a diet, and this is the start of the damaging cycle that is symptomatic of crash dieting. It is also where the phrase “Dieting makes you fat!” comes from, and clearly this statement has some justification.