One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing people tell each other how much weight they’ve lost in the last few days on their new diet “kick.”
It’s not that I don’t want people to lose weight; in fact, I’m probably going to be your biggest advocate if you want to lose weight.
The reason why I get frustrated with this extremely quick “weight loss” is because I don’t want people to just lose “weight,” I want them to lose the RIGHT kind of weight.
And believe me it really matters.
Hear me out for a second…
People who lose a ton of weight right after starting up a new diet are not losing the right kind of weight.
Very low calorie diets and very low carbohydrate diets will cause you to lose lots of water weight and glycogen stores (glycogen stores are just carbohydrates stored in your muscles.)
And for every ounce of glycogen, you store 3 ounces of water.
When you are eating a very low calorie diet, or a diet that totally restricts or severely limits carbohydrates then guess what?
Those glycogen stores and the water surrounding them gets used up very quickly, and all that water, and glycogen weighs quite a bit and it also burns up very quickly.
So the actual weight loss you see on the scale is just this initial flushing of the glycogen and water, and nothing more.
In addition to this loss of glycogen, you will probably lose quite a bit of energy as well, because this glycogen is used to give energy to your muscles.
To make things worse, you can’t visibly tell if anyone has lost water and glycogen. No one walks around and says, “Wow it looks like you’ve lost lots of glycogen lately! How did you do it? What’s your secret?”
No one cares, and no one can see it, so why should you care?
And that’s the thing, you shouldn’t really care, but lots of people are tricked into thinking that a specific diet works “magically” because they see this initial drop of bodyweight is such a short period of time.
And they see this drop in water weight when they step on the scale.
Don’t be fooled by these “tricks.”
You probably want to lose weight to get healthier, or to look better, or maybe both. And I’ll tell you right now that flushing this water weight and glycogen is not going to help you do either.
If you think these diet tricks are bad…
They are only half the problem.
There’s an even bigger issue that can really set you back on your quest to lose weight that is rarely brought up in the dieting community.
And that problem is:
After you’re done flushing out this “non-visible” weight, often times you begin losing something you really don’t want to lose… your muscle.
You really don’t want to lose muscle because muscle burns fat, and muscle is what gives you your tone, and lot of your shape.
Also, it’s much harder to get back the muscle that you lose.
Unfortunately, most diets are geared towards eliminating muscle.
But why would they want to destroy your muscle?
Simple, it’s because muscle weighs more than fat, and muscle is easier to lose than fat because your body wants to hold on to it’s reserves.
And your body’s reserves are fat.
When you get on a really low calorie diet your body will begin to think it’s starving.
And when your body is starving, it really wants to hold on to it’s fat stores, but it has to get energy from somewhere… so your body will literally eat away your muscle for energy.
But again, why would diets target muscle loss?
Because it’s a quick and easy way to see results on a scale, and if you see results on a scale you’ll probably think the diet is working.
But this muscle loss is a problem because just like water weight, losing muscle is not really a “visible” way to lose weight, especially if you have a good deal of fat covering your muscles.
Think about it for a second, if you can’t see your muscles right now, if you lose some muscle, will you see that weight loss in the mirror?
Sure, if you lose some of your muscle you will see the scale weight go down, but you’ll most likely look in the mirror and wonder why you aren’t actually SEEING any results.
And once you get rid of too much muscle, it just gets that much harder to lose fat, or any weight at all, because remember muscle is what burns fat.
And if you’re losing your muscle just to make your scale happy, you’re really asking for trouble.
What you want to do is to find a way to preserve your muscle while losing fat.
Basically, you want to keep the muscle that will give you your toned shaped body, and burn the fat that is on top of that muscle.
That is really the ultimate goal. Not just blind weight loss.
If you didn’t need to know your body weight to find out the best nutritional plan for you, I’d say just throw the scale away.
But that’s another story…
People who experience the initial “scale weight” drop from these restrictive diets often get excited and think that the diet is working extremely well…
But the truth is their weight loss will level out quickly and they will either stop losing weight, or just lose weight at a slower rate.
And the really bad part is that the second they start eating more food, or eating more carbohydrates then they will almost always gain all of, or a majority of the weight back in just days.
This is especially true if they’ve only been on one of these restrictive diets for a month or less.
The weight gain you will experience when you switch back to your normal eating habits will be just as fast, and just as dramatic as the initial weight loss.
And that’s no fun.
But why does this sudden weight gain happen?
Remember that when you are on a very low calorie diet, or a diet that is very restrictive on carbohydrates, that the carbohydrates in your muscles (glycogen stores) are extremely low.
As soon as you begin to replenish them you will gain weight at an incredible pace as the glycogen goes back into your muscles, and along with that you will also gain three times as much water as the glycogen you get back.
Because remember, for every ounce of glycogen you have, you store three ounces of water.
And this water and glycogen is really heavy, so it will show up on your scale.
Keep in mind that this weight gain may be shocking, but it is mostly weight that no one can see. So although it’s kind of scary, it really does not matter in the mirror.
What does matter is the fact that if you’ve been on these kinds of diets for any significant length of time, the diet has probably destroyed a good chunk of your muscle tissue.
Remember that muscle burns fat, and now you don’t have as much.
What do you think that does to your ability to burn fat?
And what do you think that does to your ability to eat the same amount of food and maintain your weight?
That’s right, you have a lower ability to burn fat, and you’re likely to gain fat at a faster pace.
Does yo-yo dieting sound familiar?
And in addition to this problem, extremely low calorie diets can severely slow down your metabolism beyond just losing muscle.
Your body adapts very quickly, and when it realizes that you’re not giving it enough food it starts to panic and begins to conserve energy as a defense mechanism.
Basically, your body slows down it’s metabolism as a direct response to extremely low calorie diets.
Sow now we have an even bigger problem to compound the problems we already had.
-We have a body that didn’t have any glycogen stores
-And we’ve destroyed a lot of our muscle tissue
-And now we have a slowed down metabolism
-Which means we can’t eat as much food as we used to or else we’ll probably gain weight.
As you can imagine, we’ve put ourselves in a very bad environment for trying to maintain any type of weight loss. And this is probably one of the biggest reasons why people have so many problems with keeping their weight off.
In summary, extremely low calorie diets or diets that severely limit your carbohydrate intake often do these things:
-Give you rapid weight loss that you can’t see in the mirror (glycogen, water)
-Destroy muscle tissue
-Slow your metabolism
And when you go back to your normal eating habits, these things often happen:
-You gain back the weight you lost as quickly as you lost it
-You probably gain back more than you lost because you destroyed muscle and damaged your metabolism.
Now we know what happens when we go on these extremely low calorie diets and carbohydrate restrictive diets, and why the weight loss is “fake.”
And we also know that this “fake” weight loss can also cause you to gain back more weight than you lost originally because this “fake” weight loss can slow down your metabolism and destroy your muscle tissue.
Alright… but what can we do to prevent this from happening?
The solution may be simpler than you were expecting…
You can avoid these negative side effects first and foremost by making sure you are eating enough food, so you don’t damage your metabolism.
Eating enough calories (food) is the key here.
Food is the key because when you drop too low in calories (food) your metabolism slows down, and you begin to destroy your lean muscle.
Eating the right amount of calories is the most important factor to looking great and losing the right kind of weight.
And if you want to take your weight loss to the next level, you can see even greater results by making sure you have enough protein in your diet.
Protein is the building blocks to muscle, and when you give your body enough protein, it will help your body hang on to as much lean muscle as it can because you are giving your body what it needs to keep your muscle around.
With calories (food), there really is a fine line between being too little and too much. And each person is different.
That’s actually another reason why a lot of these “popular” diets are really bad. They simply don’t take YOU into account. They just engineer a diet for the average person, and they just assume that you are that “average person.”
Because most diets don’t tailor their plan around YOU, they simply won’t work for YOU, unless you get lucky and fall into the definition of the diet creator’s “average person”.
There’s such a fine line between losing and gaining weight.
You have to make sure you don’t eat too little, and make sure you aren’t eating way too much.
You really need to find the right number for you. Not the “average person.”
So how do we find your number?
First let me say this…
If your diet is not asking you these questions before giving you a recommendation on how to lose weight, then you’re probably not going to want to use that diet.
These are the questions that will determine how many calories you need to lose weight that you can actually see in the mirror:
-How old are you?
-How much do you weigh?
-How tall are you?
-What is your gender?
-How active are you?
It seems simple, but I bet you’ve never been asked those questions before starting a diet… but you really do need that information to recommend anything that will work effectively for you.
“Prescription without diagnosis is malpractice.” (Think about that quote for a bit.)
But, really these are really the two biggest factors…
1.) Get your calories right. Make sure you aren’t eating too little or too much food.
2.) If you want to turbo charge your visible weight loss, make sure you’re eating enough protein.
Finding out your optimum protein level also depends on your goals, what you want to look like, and how much muscle mass you want to retain.
Most diets won’t ask you those types of questions.
The fact is that most diets are just trying to be a one size fits all solution.
The only way they can make it appear like their diets work is if they just give you a really low calorie, or really restrictive diet. That way they know they’ll at least get that quick “fake” weight loss to trick you and get you hooked.
Even if the diet isn’t really working, and you’re not seeing any results in the mirror.
Here’s something to think about…
Notice that we did not talk about specific foods, such as whole wheat bread, salads, fruits, fast foods, etc?
We didn’t talk about them because the truth is, specific foods don’t matter as much as you might think.
Even eating “junk food” does not matter in moderation, and yes you can lose weight while eating “junk food” or even candy. (It may not be the healthiest thing to do, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it and still lose weight.)
It’s probably one of the best kept secrets in the diet industry.
The concepts we talked about in this post were all about eating enough calories, and not restricting carbohydrates.
And now that we’ve started to understand that you can eat more calories, and don’t need to eliminate specific things like carbohydrates, or fat out of your diet.
You may begin to realize that this opens up a lot of possibilities…
-You can eat protein.
-You can eat fat.
-You can eat carbohydrates.
Did you know that these three categories (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) are the building blocks to all foods?
All foods have at least one of these, if not two or all three of them.
What does this mean for you?
Well, it means that all these building blocks are ok for you to eat while losing weight.
And because all foods are made of these building blocks, then that means almost ALL foods are ok for you to eat.
Even while losing fat.
You just have to know how to come up with the right combination of these building blocks to help you lose weight.
I’ve spent over a year of my life developing a tool that not only helps you figure out how much of each building block you need to lose weight.
But this tool figures out the right numbers for you based on who you are right now and what your goals are.
This tool also lets you pick the foods you want to eat, and it figures out how to create a diet for you using the foods you chose.
Yes you can eat more use it to eat all organic, vegan, raw foods, or even a diet based entirely on fast foods, or candy it’s your choice. And I’ll be perfectly honest with you, this software program is not for everyone. Some people will love it, and others will choose not to use it. But either way it’s at least worth checking out.
I’ve named this tool OK-Cal.
And OK-Cal actually asks you the right questions, and ensures that you get enough calories, and if you want it will help you get the right amount of protein too.
OK-Cal figures all of this out for you, based on who you are, and what you want to eat.
It’s your choice, and you can have a custom tailored weight loss diet created just for you every day based on the foods YOU choose.
100% organic, or 100% fast food, it’s your choice. OK-Cal has the technology built right in to handle almost any food preference.
by Sean Bissell