Do Diets and Exercise Really Work?
The diet and exercise programs that we usually follow obviously do not lead to permanent weight loss since the population of our country is becoming heavier and heavier with each passing year. We cannot lose weight and keep it off because these standard programs work against the physiology of our bodies. However, the good news is that eating and exercising in a way that works with our bodies can produce a permanent self-controlling normal weight without the struggle and hunger normally experienced in the weight loss quest. You may also want to check out online universities to find physical fitness and wellness courses that can teach you about the science behind proper exercise and proper diet.
Conventional diets say that all that matters when you want to lose weight is the number of calories consumed minus the number burned by physical activity. Although calories do have an effect, they are not the primary determining factor in how much we weigh. Our hormones, such as insulin, cortisol, leptin and others, are what really determine our weight. If your hormones are saying, “Deposit that food! A famine is in the land!” you will not be able to lose weight even if the number of calories you consume is very low. Because they work against body chemistry, calorie-counting diets rarely result in permanent weight loss. After dieters reach their goal, they usually re-gain most or all of the weight they lost. They may even be heavier than when they started; if they lost muscle mass, their metabolic rate will be lower than before their diet.
The key to losing weight easily and without hunger is to keep your body in a “burn fat” mode by keeping your blood sugar level stable and your insulin level low and stable. This can be achieved by eating protein-containing breakfasts and small between-meal snacks and by keeping carbohydrate intake at a sensible level with most of the carbohydrates low to moderate on the glycemic index (GI). (Low to moderate GI carbohydrates do not promote dramatic swings in blood sugar and insulin levels. See this page – http://www.foodallergyandglutenfreeweightloss.com/glycemic_index.html – for more about the glycemic index and how it can help you lose weight). Carbohydrates should be eaten with protein. For more details about how to balance carbohydrates with protein for stable insulin and blood sugar levels, see the third paragraph of this page – http://www.foodallergyandglutenfreeweightloss.com/carbohydrate_foods.html.
Keeping insulin levels low and stable most or all of the time is crucial to weight loss because insulin levels regulate the activity of two enzymes that control fat metabolism. High insulin activates an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase. This enzyme catalyzes the production of triglycerides from any fatty acids (digested fat units in the form that is absorbed by the intestine) eaten in a meal. Thus, excess insulin promotes storage of fat by our fat cells rather than using it for fuel after a meal. In a person with normal insulin levels, any recently eaten fats could have been used for energy during the two hours after a meal. If insulin levels are high, dietary fat will be stored in the fat cells instead. In addition, high insulin levels in the blood inhibit the activity of the enzyme triglyceride lipase which breaks down stored fat for use as energy. Thus, if you have chronically high insulin, you cannot burn your own body fat!
Conventional diets are based on the faulty assumption that “calories in minus calories out” determines our weight. Thus, the goal of these diets is to keep the calories eaten very low. Because fat has more calories per gram than carbohydrate or protein, these diets are very low in fat (counterproductive because fat gives a meal or snack staying power), low in protein (because protein foods usually contain fat) and high in carbohydrates (which are low in fat). This high-carbohydrate, low-protein eating pattern produces high insulin levels, which through the actions of the enzymes that control fat metabolism, make weight loss nearly impossible. Since high insulin and low blood sugar levels produce a feeling of hunger, it is also very difficult to resist eating. If we resist until mealtime, we’re likely to overeat when dinnertime comes around. This also contributes to the failure of conventional diets. In addition, if we do have the willpower to lose this way, we will usually lose muscle mass in addition to fat. Lower muscle mass results in a permanently lower metabolic rate after the weight loss goal is reached, making maintenance of lower weight impossible without permanent calorie restriction.
If insulin levels are low and stable, any type of activity will burn recently eaten food or body fat. Your body will be in the “burn fat” mode most or all of the time if you follow the eating pattern described above; thus, exercise of any kind will help you lose weight. Walkers are most successful at achieving and maintaining a normal weight because walking is not overly strenuous and does not unsettle weight controlling hormones. Exercise that is prolonged, excessive, or done without food can cause the release of stress hormones, thus raising insulin levels and putting our bodies into the “store fat” mode. Weight loss specialist Cheryle Hart, MD, recommends no more than 25 minutes of exercise at a time done three days a week or 12 minutes done daily. This pattern of exercise will keep your metabolism higher all the time (as will a good walk daily) while allowing you to remain in the “burn fat” mode. For a complete explanation of how exercise can help with weight loss, see this page – http://www.foodallergyandglutenfreeweightloss.com/exercise_right.html.
Standard exercise programs which require exercise of over 25 minutes at a time do not work well because they raise insulin levels, thus putting the exerciser in the “store fat” mode. So save your money! Don’t hire a trainer or join a gym. Instead eat correctly to be able to burn fat, and walk, garden, clean house or go for a leisurely bike ride. These activities provide moderate exercise, which is the most effective for permanent weight loss, while you accomplish something productive or enjoy yourself. You CAN lose weight easily and without self- torture if you base your efforts on accurate knowledge of your body rather than on the faulty assumptions of “calorie math” weight loss plans.
Nickie Dumke enjoys helping people with food allergies and gluten intolerance find solutions to their health and weight problems. She began writing books to help others with multiple food allergies over 20 years ago and the process culminated in The Ultimate Food Allergy Cookbook and Survival Guide. She says, “This book contains everything I know to help with food allergies,” and it has helped many people come back from near-starvation. Her other books address issues such as how to deal with time and money pressures on special diets, keeping allergic children happy on their diets, and more. A few years ago, while listening to the struggles of an allergic friend on the Weight Watchers™ diet, she remembered her own weight struggles* many years ago and thought, “There has to be a better way.” This was the beginning of a new quest, and she is now helping those who are overweight due to inflammation (often due to unsuspected food allergies) or high-in-rice gluten-free diets, as well as those who are not food sensitive but want to lose weight permanently, healthily, and without feeling hungry and deprived. Her unique approach to weight and health presented in Food Allergy and Gluten-Free Weight Loss is based on body physiology and reveals why conventional weight-loss diets work against rather than with our bodies and therefore rarely result in permanent weight loss. * (Nickie’s weight loss story, briefly, is that in her early 20s she could not lose on a calorie-counting diet in spite of repeatedly further reducing the number of calories she ate and swimming vigorously and often. Then she found a diet based on blood sugar control, lost weight without being hungry, and still weighs what she did in her mid-20s). Nickie has had multiple food allergies for 30 years and has been cooking for special diets for family members and friends for even longer. Regardless of how complex your dietary needs are or how much or little cooking you have done, she has the books and recipes you need. Her books present the science behind multiple food allergies and weight control in an easily-understood manner. She has BS degrees in medical technology and microbiology. She and her husband live in Louisville, Colorado and have two grown sons. You can visit Nickie’s websites at http://www.foodallergyandglutenfreeweightloss.com and http://www.food-allergy.org.