Liposuction – For Disastrous Results

Health on February 24th, 2012 No Comments

If you have ever contemplated liposuction as a weight-loss strategy, or as a way to make your body look better – please think again.  Before getting liposuction, you need to understand some basic anatomy/physiology of the human body.

Fat Cells: You are born with a set number of fat cells in your body.  Fat cells do not divide and multiply.  They also do not migrate from one place to another one in your body.  Fat cells stay in the same area for life.  Fat cells can, unfortunately, expand to extreme proportions.

How does a  fat cell grow? When you consume more calories than you burn during the day, the extra calories are deposited as fat.  It does not matter what type of food you eat. You can eat carbohydrate, fat, or protein.  You can eat healthy or you can eat poorly.  The body does not care.  The body simply converts food into energy.  If it is left with a surplus of energy at the end of the day, the excess is deposited as fat.

Where does fat deposit? Everyone's body has a favorite fat deposition spot.  In most men, it is around the waistline.  For ladies, the hips receive the extra layering.  Because of these tendencies, these areas are also most people's favorite areas to liposuction.  This can present a problem.

Creating Deformity. As mentioned above, fat cells do not migrate.  So when you remove the fat cells from your body's favorite deposition site, fat will no longer be stored in that area.  While this might sound like a good thing, it can result in your body taking on an unwanted look.  Provided that you do not gain any further weight following liposuction, you will not have to worry about this effect.  If, however, you do gain weight – look out!  Now that the fat cannot deposit in its favorite spot, it must look for another place in the body to store.  This will result in your body taking on a whole new look.  For example, a man that has had liposuction on his abdominal area may now start depositing fat on his hips and thighs.  He may now have saddlebags.  This may cause him to look more like a female than a male from the chest down.  Ladies getting fat removed from the hips may start to deposit fat around the stomach area. This may result in a male, "potbellied" appearance (fat deposit around abdominal area also presents a greater health risk).

Loose skin.  If that is not enough to convince you to avoid liposuction, then also keep in mind that liposuction removes not just fat from an area but also connective tissue.  Connective tissue is like thick, tough Saran wrap that envelops the entire body. Connective tissue helps hold things together.  Removing the connective tissue from an area will allow the skin to move around more.  This may eventually result in wrinkling skin.

As with many things in life, there are no free rides. The best way to get rid of fat is still the tried-and-true diet and exercise program.  It takes longer but there are no side effects (unless you count the good side effects such as decreased risk for almost all diseases and illnesses), no health risks, and the cost is far more affordable.


Ladies – Exercise Like a Man

Health on February 6th, 2012 No Comments

When it comes to weight training, men and women have two completely different approaches to exercise.  Men tend to focus on heavier weights with fewer repetitions.  Women typically lift weights with higher repetitions.  For the women, I have some bad news.  You need to change your weightlifting approach to resemble that of a man's.

Most women tend to be afraid of weightlifting.  They're afraid that they will end up looking like a man with huge muscles.  Most women think of the stereotypical bodybuilding female as the end result of lifting heavy weights.  This is simply not true.  Most female bodybuilders are using excessive amounts of drugs to create muscular growth.  They have more male hormones running through their systems than most football players.  Weightlifting, when properly understood and executed is not something women should fear.  In fact, it could be argued that women probably have a greater need of weightlifting than even men.

It is important to note that there is no difference between the muscles of a man and the muscle of a woman.  Anatomically they are exactly the same.  The big difference between the size of a man's muscles and a woman's muscles has to do with the predominance of fiber types within the muscles and hormones.  Muscles have two primary fiber types. Fast twitch fibers and slow twitch fibers.  Fast twitch fibers produce large amounts of power for short periods of time (these fiber grow larger and are stimulated with weightlifting).  Slow twitch fibers are good for endurance but are incapable of producing much force (these are stimulated with cardiovascular exercise like running and do not grow in size). Men will tend to have a greater percentage of fast twitch fibers versus slow twitch fibers in thier bodies compared to women.  This allows them to experience greater strength and growth potential.

Another factor for muscular development is hormones.  Hormones account for a large part of the discrepancy between men and women's muscles.  Testosterone, especially, will cause increased tissue growth.  This is obviously in greater supply in men versus women.  Most women simply lack the body chemistry to get large muscles.

Once you understand that lifting weights is not going to turn you into a female sideshow, you are now ready to learn the importance of weightlifting.  In recent years, weightlifting has been shown to be more effective in the reduction of blood pressure and cholesterol than even cardiovascular exercise (the best plan is to combine a combination of both cardiovascular and weight training exercise).

1 pound of muscle burns 35 calories a day, at rest.  Muscle is highly metabolically active tissue.  More muscle on your body equates to a faster metabolism.  Having a faster metabolism will make it far easier to lose weight or maintain your current weight.  Extra muscle on your body will not make you look like a freak.  It will simply give your body more shape, and consequently a more "toned" look.

Weightlifting exercise is also the major stimulus for bone growth.  It used to be thought that weak bones could be strengthened through weight-bearing activities such as running and walking.  This has been proven to be inaccurate.  It is actually the contraction of muscles that stimulates the bones to develop.  Muscles are most effectively contracted through resistance/weightlifting activity.

How you exercise is also highly important.  The benefits of exercise have been shown to be inversely proportional to the intensity with which they are performed.  What this essentially means is that the harder you work the greater the benefits.  If you are lifting light weights, you're going to get very little out of the activity.  Instead, you need to be executing exercises with weights that you can handle for a maximum of six to 12 repetitions.  If you perform your weightlifting with this intensity, you will help shape your body while at the same time significantly improving your overall health.

Exercise requires a significant investment of time and energy.  Make sure that your investment is paying off properly by exercising your body properly.  Ladies, stop worrying needlessly about weightlifting misconceptions and start lifting heavier weights.


Getting Rid of Problem Areas

Health on February 2nd, 2012 No Comments

Most everyone has a body part with which they are unhappy.  For men, it's usually the stomach and for women it's the thighs/hips.  Every year, people spend millions of dollars trying to eradicate problem areas.  They buy specialized exercise equipment that will supposedly turn that problem area into a sculpted thing of beauty.  This is, unfortunately, usually a waste of time and money.

The simple fact is that you cannot spot reduce fat.  If you have a rotund tummy, you can lie on the floor and do crunches/sit ups 24 hours a day and not change the outward appearance of your body in the least bit.  The abdominal muscles that you're working while doing crunches are, indeed, burning calories during exercise.  The problem is that they receive energy through the bloodstream and not from the fat layers adjacent to the muscle. Since the energy is being received from the bloodstream, and not from the underlying muscle, it is not necessary to work the body part that you would like to make slimmer. 

More important than working the area you want to shrink is working on how much food you're consuming.  If you really want to improve the look of your hips or abdominals it is more important to be concerned with the difference between your caloric expenditure and your caloric intake.  If you are eating more calories than you're expending, you will have no significant change in the appearance of your body.

In fact, you can spend the entire day at the gym, working out until you feel like you're going to die. But if you go home and eat as many calories as you burned during the workout, you will likely be disappointed with your mirrored results. *(You will, however, derive significant health benefits from exercise even if you do not lose weight.)

It is also important to note that not all muscles in your body burn the same amount of calories during exercise.  The abdominal muscles, for example, are a relatively small group of muscles and do not burn a significant amount of calories when exercised.  It is far more efficient to exercise larger muscle groups as they will burn more calories.  The muscles of the legs are some of the largest in your body.  If you're truly interested in burning calories (so that you can lose the fat over your problem area – wherever it may be), then focus on exercises that involve the lower extremities.

Getting rid of your problem areas is certainly not easy.  But if you exercise hard and diet properly, you can sculpt your body to a form that will make you happy.


Protein Insanity

Health on January 27th, 2012 1 Comment

Dr. Atkins created a tremendous amount of confusion with his high-protein diet plan.  In fact, he has led most of the people in this country down a path toward ill health.  He convinced people that carbohydrates make you fat and that high-protein diets are the key to instantaneous weight loss success.  This is simply not true.  Research has proven that high-protein diets are no more effective for weight loss than any other type of diet. The fact is that weight loss is simple math.  It is calorie expenditure versus calorie intake.  It does not matter what type of food/calories you put in your body.  Whether the food is protein, carbohydrate, or fat is irrelevant.  It only matters how many calories.  If the number of calories you expend in a day is greater than the number of calories that you consume, then you will loose weight.

  Not only are high-protein diets no more effective in helping people to lose weight but they're damaging to your health.  High-protein diets can lead to serious health problems such as kidney failure, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and even cancer.

In addition to causing health problems, high-protein diets will also typically leave you feeling low on energy.  When you restrict your body from the intake of carbohydrates, you're restricting your body from its favorite fuel source.  If you restrict your car from gasoline, how well does it run?  The same can be said of restricting your body from carbohydrate.  Without carbohydrate, your body is missing its key fuel source.  This will leave you feeling lethargic and weak.

Nutritionists agree that you should only consume 10 to 15% of your diet from protein.  Another way to figure this is .8 g of protein per kilogram of your body weight (you can figure your body weight in kilograms by simply dividing your weight in pounds by 2.2).  If you're engaging in active exercise, you can increase your protein intake to 1 g per kilogram of body weight.  Anything more than this is simply going to produce an increased workload on the liver and kidneys.

The next time you're considering eating only the meat out of a hamburger, stop and think again.  Your big concern when consuming food should not be the avoidance of carbohydrate (carbohydrate should comprise 60% to 70% of your diet; 45% to 55% if you're diabetic).  Your focus, instead should be on the amount of calories that you are consuming.  If you're going to eat a 1000 calorie burger, it would be better to simply cut the burger in half and consume the half in its entirety.  This is a preferable strategy over only consuming the meat. 

No one particular food will make you fat.  Weight gain and weight loss is simple math.  If you consume too much energy (calories), compared to the amount of energy that you expend, you will gain weight.  It doesn't matter if the energy comes from carbohydrate, protein, or fat.  By the same token, if you expend more energy than you intake, and you will loose weight.  Even if your diet consists of 100% fat, you will not deposit any extra fat on your body as long as you eat fewer total calories than you burn during the day.

Stop the protein insanity today.  It is bad for your health.


Fat Loss Versus Weight Loss

Health on January 18th, 2012 No Comments

The exaggerated claims are everywhere.  Lose amazing amounts of weight - fast.  Lose weight while you sleep.  Lose 30 pounds in 30 days.  These claims get your attention.  These claims get your money.  These claims also fail to deliver the full story.  Can you lose 30 pounds in 30 days?  The answer is yes you can.  The problem is that this 30 pounds will be a mixture of fat loss, water loss, and muscle loss (mostly the latter two choices).  It is important to understand the difference between weight loss and fat loss.

At my weight loss program here at Fast Track, I monitor people's weight once a week.  Sometimes people's weight will fail to change.  Every once in while, people even gain weight.  The disappointment is evident on my clients faces and in their postures. They feel that they have failed with their weight loss program.  This is not the case.  I quickly point out that they should not be dismayed with an apparent lack of progress on the scale.  The scale, after all, only measures body weight.  It does not tell the true story of how much lean body tissue versus fat they currently possess.  They may very well have lost fat and still showed a weight gain on the scale.  Bodyweight will fluctuate wildly depending on water retention.  Simple dehydration and rehydration of your body can fluctuate your overall weight by as much as 10 pounds in one day.  Eating foods high in sodium can greatly affect your water retention.  Standing or sitting statically can cause water retention in the legs.  Having a full bladder can even add a couple pounds.  These are but a few examples of how you can greatly change your body weight.  The important point to note is that none of them involve gaining fat.  Your bodyweight can and does fluctuate daily. This can make legitimate fat loss, being achieved by proper diet and exercise, appear non-existant.  Keep in mind that the most fat that you can safely lose is one to 2 pounds per week.  Any more weight loss than this is simply water weight and/or/muscle tissue*.

Stop comparing yourself to friends that appear to be losing weight at a high rate of speed.  Stop listening to exaggerated claims of excessive weight loss achieved with special diets and supplements.  They are not telling you the whole story.  When you diet, your primary goal is to lose fat.  This is the only weight loss you should desire.  Weight loss involving water or muscle is simply temporary or detrimental.  Big losers may think that they are dieting superstars but this weight loss will not be sustainable.  Once you understand that the most fat you can lose is one to 2 pounds per week, that should help you to feel more secure about your personal progress.

It is also important that people analyze their weight loss over long periods of time.  You need to plot your weight-loss on a graph.  As long as you're noticing a general trend downward, and averaging one to 2 pounds per week of weight loss, then you're doing as well as can be expected.  There may be times on the graph that you fail to lose weight, and you may even gain weight, on a weekly comparison.  Don't be alarmed.  If you've been sticking to your diet, you can rest assured that this lack of progress is simply due to water retention masking the fat loss that has occurred. 

During a disappointing week on the scale, keep in mind that it takes 4000 calories to equate to 1 pound of fat.  This is a mathematical fact.  There is no way around this number.  This means that you have to eat 4000 calories, in excess of what you expend (the average person expense 2000 calories per day), in order to gain 1 pound of fat.  Think back over your week.  Did you eat 4000 calories in excess of your 2000 calories allotted?  If you did not, then it is impossible for you to have gained weight in the form of fat.

Do not weigh yourself more than one time per week.  As explained above, it is easy for your body to mask the weight loss that can be achieved in one weeks worth of dieting.  How easy will it be for your body to mask weight loss compared on a day-to-day basis.  On a daily basis, your average fat loss will be approximately a quarter of a pound. Your scale is not likely to be accurate enough to measure this type of detail.  Even if your scale was highly accurate, it is highly unlikely that you will be at the same exact level of hydration everyday.  Weighing yourself everyday will simply make you manic/depressive.  Some days you will be euphoric.  Other days you will be depressed.  Do not ride this roller coaster as it can be extremely frustrating.

Be realistic in your dieting goals.  Stop listening to the hype.  Stick with your plan and you will achieve dieting success.

 

*Muscle is 80% water and, therefore, very heavy, dense tissue.  1 pound of muscle burns 35 calories per day, at rest.  It is a highly metabolically active tissue.  You do not want to lose muscle during a diet.  If you do, you'll quickly slow down your metabolism and limit your ability to lose further weight.  Not to mention the fact that you will weaken your body and place it at higher risk for injury.


Don’t Kill Yourself Doing Cardiovascular Exercise

Health on January 13th, 2012 No Comments

Many people think that it is necessary to exercise at an extreme level in order to get good results from exercise.  This is not true.  It is especially untrue regarding cardiovascular exercise.  When you know the true story, you will likely change your approach to exercise intensity.

From a minimalist standpoint, it is only necessary to exercise three days a week, for 20 continuous minutes, keeping your heart rate and your target exercise zone*.  Engaging in exercise of this intensity and duration will provide you with a cardiovascular training effect.  In other words, this is what is necessary for your heart to get healthy.  You can exercise at higher intensities if it is your goal to improve your peak athletic performance. But for those simply looking to improve their overall health, the above program is sufficient.

But if I exercise at a higher intensity, or for a longer duration, won"t I lose weight faster? The answer is yes and no.  Yes, you will burn more calories if you exercise at a higher intensity and/or a longer duration.  The problem is that performing cardiovascular activity, for long, intense periods is excessively tedious and painful.  Most people will not continue exercise programs designed after this fashion.  The result is termination of the exercise program which defeats any lifelong health goals.

Additionally, the amount of extra calories that you burn performing exercise at an intense pace or for a long duration is not as significant as you may think.  For example, if you are exercising for 30 minutes, at a moderate pace, you're probably burning 150 to 250 calories per session.  If instead, you bump up your intensity to a point where you are having trouble breathing, your muscles are on fire, and every minute seems like the last minute you could possibly continue to exercise, then you are probably burning somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 to 450 calories per session.  You're essentially burning 200 extra calories per exercise session.  Burning 200 extra calories each session will certainly help you to achieve your weight loss goals faster, but it's probably not nearly as fast as you may think. 

1 pound of fat is equivalent to approximately 4000 calories.  This means that it will take you 20 exercise sessions before you burn one extra pound of fat.  Considering that you'll be working out at an intensity level that causes you to want to die each and every exercise session, it hardly seems worth the extra 200 calories per session.  Once again, your likelihood of continuing an exercise program at this level of intensity is highly unlikely.

The same reasoning can be applied to cardiovascular exercise performed for long duration. The difference in calories burned between a half an hour exercise session and a one-hour session is probably in the neighborhood of 200 to 300 calories.  Once again, you're looking at upwards of 20 days before you lose one extra pound of fat. Spending 20 to 30 minutes on a treadmill is difficult enough but an hour is downright miserable.

95% of all weight-loss programs fail.  The primary reason that they fail is because they are not sustainable.  Exercise, diet, and lifestyle changes have to be permanent.  You need to continue with your program for the rest of your life.  Don't doom your exercise program to failure by making it more difficult than necessary.

 

*Target heart rate calculation: subtract your age from 220.  Multiply your answer by .60 and .80.  This will give you your target heart rate training range in beats per minute.


Avoid Weight Loss Surgeries

Health on January 6th, 2012 No Comments

Weight-loss surgeries are currently experiencing tremendous popularity.  But this popularity comes at a price.  People consider these surgeries to be the only solution to their weight-loss problems.  People think that these surgeries will provide them with the secret weapon that they've been looking for to help them lose weight.  Most of the time, this is not the case.  Instead of a solution to their weight-loss problems, many people are left with permanent side effects and continued obesity. 

Poor Outcomes: After only two years, studies have shown that 50% of people that have undergone weight-loss surgeries regain their weight.  As more long-term studies are done, you will likely see the failure rate, over a five-year period, go far higher than the 50% failure mark. 

No Proper Education: In my weight-loss program here at  Fast Track, I regularly see clients that have failed following their weight-loss surgeries.  Clients state that they were required to take a basic nutrition course and yet they are still stunned when they learn the basics of dieting and exercise in my program (I don't believe that most patients are taught much of anything regarding nutrition and exercise).  With consistent regularity, clients claim that if they had known the information that I'd taught them, they would never have proceeded with the surgery.  They felt that the education and discipline would have helped them to achieve their weight-loss goals without surgery. 

No Shortcuts: Many people that need to lose weight hate the idea of diet and exercise.  They instead look to weight-loss surgeries as a form of avoidance.  This is a huge mistake.  Regardless of who you are, and whether you're underweight or overweight, everyone needs to exercise regularly and eat right.  In fact, if you do not adhere to proper diet and exercise, following a weight-loss surgery, you will most likely fail to maintain your weight loss.  Why not save yourself some time, pain, and money and simply make proper lifestyle changes now and avoid the surgery? 

Permanent Side Effects: Many patients who undergo weight-loss surgeries experience the bad side effects and symptoms of malnutrition.  Some of the symptoms will be lifelong.  Most of the patients have problems keeping food down and will experience vomiting.  This can be a lifelong problem.  Some foods that you used to enjoy will never be consumed again because they cause gastric distress.  Do you really want to give up your favorite foods for life?  Do you want to regularly vomit when you eat too much (what is the difference between this and bulimia)? 

Your Not Losing What You Think: Research has shone that the most weight you can lose, safely, is 1 to 2 pounds per week.  When you are losing weight at this rate you can be assured that most of the weight that you are losing is fat.  This is what you want.  Can you lose weight at a faster rate than this?  You certainly can.  Many people who undergo weight-loss surgeries lose 5 pounds per week.  You may think that this is a great thing but it is not.  You must remember that there is a big difference between weight-loss and fat loss.  When you're losing greater than 2 pounds per week you are probably losing water weight (which occurs at the front end of most diets) or you're losing muscle. 

One pound of muscle burns 35 calories, per day, at rest. Muscle is a highly metabolically active tissue.  When you lose this tissue from your body, you are effectively slowing down your metabolism.  This is not to mention the fact that you're also significantly weakening your body.  Losing weight at a 5 pound per week pace will not only be detrimental to your body but will also increase your likelihood of dieting failure.  Because you're significantly slowing your metabolism with the loss of muscle mass, that means that you will not be able to eat a normal amount of calories and maintain your weight.  Do not let yourself be mesmerized by the scale.  It does not tell the whole story.  A good successful diet is about fat loss, not only weight loss.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Weight-loss surgeries are not a quick fix, easy answer to avoiding proper nutrition, portion control, and exercise.  If you are not committed to making significant changes in your life then the surgery is just an expensive, painful, and permanent problem that you're going to have to deal with – in addition to being overweight.  If you do not adopt healthy lifestyle choices, you will likely regain any weight lost with the surgery.  The question is, when you know you need to make changes to your lifestyle, why also subject your body to a surgery that will have lifelong side effects.

"The Biggest Loser" television program has provided us with an excellent illustration to show that anyone can, and will, lose weight with proper diet and exercise.  If you think that you cannot possibly lose weight except with surgery, then you're lying to yourself.  You are also likely to fail following a surgical intervention.  The fact is that with proper discipline and education you can, and will, be successful losing weight without surgery.


Health on December 8th, 2011 No Comments

Boredom is Good for Weight Loss

Want an easy strategy to help you lose weight?  Try eating the same foods for breakfast and lunch on a daily basis.

Eating the same food daily can help you from several different standpoints. First of all, eating the same foods everyday is boring.  Most people are not going to over -consume a boring food.  It's the exciting, novel foods that we tend to overeat.  If you have the same sandwich for lunch everyday, you will undoubtedly get tired of eating sandwiches.  This is a good thing.  You want to think of food as an item that you are consuming to keep you alive instead of as an item to keep you entertained.

Eating the same food every day also eliminates the need to think about what you are going to eat.  You already know what you're going to eat.  You're going to eat that same boring food.  On the other hand, if you do not know what you're going to eat, and it is close to meal time, then you're in trouble.  You are now trying to actively make a decision on what to eat.  The problem is that you're hungry! In this state, you're much more likely to choose an exciting (high calorie and likely non-nutritious) food item as opposed to a healthy choice.  Plus, not only will your food item most likely contain more calories and be less healthy, but you will also be more prone to overeat.

For those that choose to adopt the boredom strategy, it is important to ensure that the food that you are consuming is a smart, healthy choice.  You do not want to regularly consume a poor food choice.  I would also recommend that you only adopt this strategy for two meals a day.  Keeping the third meal variable will help to ensure greater nutritional variety in your diet.  It will also keep you from going insane from having excessive redundancy in your diet.

Food in our society has become associated with too many events.  We utilize food when we're bored, depressed, and sad.  We use it socially as an entertainment and bonding experience.  We even utilize food as a reward.  While not all of these situations need to be eliminated, it is important to minimize them for special occasions.  Food can and should be enjoyed.  But as with many potentially addictive behaviors, food must be moderated.


Why Starvation Diets Fail

Health on October 10th, 2011 1 Comment

When you restrict calories to a severe degree, or fail to eat on a regular schedule (you should eat six times per day) your body goes into starvation mode.  In starvation mode, fat is hoarded.  Fat is a storage fuel and its main purpose on your body is to keep you alive when food is in short supply.  Muscle on the other hand is a highly metabolic active tissue.  It requires a lot of fuel and energy to be maintained.  It is also extremely heavy.  Therefore, when the body is confronted with decreased food intake, it figures the most efficient fuel source to utilize is muscle.  For some women, you may think this is a good idea, but it is not.  One pound of muscle burns 35 calories per day at rest.  Simple math will tell you that the more muscle you have on your body , the more calories you burn every single day.  This is one of the reasons that men have an easier time losing weight than women.  Men simply have more muscle on their bodies than women.

This loss of muscle also happens to people who engage in long duration endurance activities.  These would include activities such as running and biking for long distances.  Once again, the body looks for efficiency.  It is not efficient to carry extra weight and, therefore, the body sacrifices muscle for energy.  Spending long hours, working out on cardiovascular equipment, is another strategy that leads to dieting failure.

Muscle is the secret key to long-term weight loss success.  The more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you burn.  This equates to being able to eat more calories and still maintain your weight.  For those concerned about looking overly muscular from adding muscle, fear not.  Most people can easily put on 10 pounds, or more, of muscle and the only change they will notice is that they look more "tone".  You will certainly not be overly muscular.

Simply stated, most diets fail because a large percentage of the weight loss during the diet is muscle mass.


Destroy Dieting Plateaus

Health on September 28th, 2011 No Comments

Dieting plateaus are the enemy of anyone trying to lose weight.  These plateaus are extremely frustrating.  You are suffering through the torture of a restricted calorie diet and yet you're seeing no results on the scale.  Your body has stopped losing weight.  Why is this happening and what can you do?

Dieting plateaus occur because the body is extremely efficient and determinedly focused on staying alive.  If you are the average person, then you burn approximately 2000 calories per day.  If you go on a 1200 calorie diet, you're creating an 800 calorie, per day, deficit.  Since 1 pound of fat is equivalent to approximately 4000 calories, this means you should be losing 1 pound of fat every five days.  In a perfect world, this scenario would continue indefinitely until you reach your target weight.  The body, however, sees things differently.  The body perceives your restricted calories as a lack of adequate nutrition.  The body does not realize that you are on a voluntary diet and that food is readily available.  Instead the body thinks that food must be in shortage and that you must be in danger of starvation. To cope with this potential danger, the body will act to slow the metabolism down as quickly as possible.  The body's goal will be to get the metabolism down to 1200 calories to meet the new 1200 calorie intake.  When this occurs, your weight-loss days are over.

So how can I avoid a dieting plateau?  One way to help avoid a dieting plateau is to incorporate a "free day" into your dieting plan.  Once a week, feel free to eat whatever you want in whatever quantity you want without feeling guilty.  This will provide a tremendous amount of calories for your body.  The body will then be tricked into thinking that the shortage of nutrition is over.  When free day is employed on a regular basis (only once a week), it should decrease the likelihood of your body putting the brakes on your metabolism.  It is also important to note that research has shown that you will lose more weight when you incorporate a free day into your diet on a regular basis.

Another strategy that will help the avoidance of a dieting plateau is the consumption of six small meals per day.  If you only eat one or two meals per day, your blood sugar will be low for the majority of the day.  When this happens, your body, figures that it is experiencing a food shortage.  Despite the fact that you're providing the body with adequate nutrition once or twice per day, the majority of the day is spent in a low blood sugar state.  This will encourage the body to slow the metabolism. When you consume six meals per day, the body is constantly receiving food which helps to keep the blood sugar more level.  The body then feels more confident that food is readily available and recognizes no immediate danger or reason to slow the metabolism.

Exercise provides yet another strategy to keep your body from going into a metabolic slowdown.  When you engage your body in weightlifting activities, the body is encouraged to maintain or add additional muscle to the body.  1 pound of muscle burns approximately 35 calories per day, at rest.  It is a highly metabolically active tissue.  More muscle in your body equals more calories burned.  This equates to a faster metabolism and consequently more fat lost.

Cardiovascular exercise will plain and simply burn calories.  If your body has slowed its metabolism down to the 1200 calorie mark, but you burn 600 extra calories with cardiovascular exercise then you have effectively pushed your daily metabolic expenditure to 1800 calories.  This means that approximately every six exercise sessions you'll keep your body burning close to 1 pound of fat.

Losing weight is strictly a numbers game.  It is simply calories in versus calories out.  The goal is to keep the calorie gap between intake and expenditure as wide as possible.  As long you keep this gap wide you will experience continued dieting success.  Allow the gap to close and you'll experience a plateau.  Heed the advice of this article and you should successfully avoid dieting plateaus.