Source Newsroom: LifeBridge Health
Newswise — The Sinai Hospital Bariatrics program offers weight loss surgery patients expert advice and consultation from Melissa Majumdar, RD, LDN, CPT. Melissa consults patients on real life scenarios such as how to make food decisions while on vacation and after.
Dieting versus Eating Healthy:
You get back from a recent vacation feeling bloated due to overindulging on salt water taffy, ice cream, and french fries. You vow to start your diet tomorrow. Cabbage soup versus any of the current popular diets - which diet to choose? Listen to the dietitian – step away from the diet! All diets have one thing in common: they all end.
Taking certain foods out of your diet and following a super low calorie intake will work for some time, but what ultimately leads to diet failure is sustainability. The body cannot survive on a rabbit's diet for long. Think of the body as a machine – you put fuel in and the machine works. Stop putting enough fuel in the machine and it breaks down. Your body’s source of fuel is calories, which is actually just a measurement of energy. Over a long period of underfeeding, or dieting, the hypothalamus down-regulates the metabolism to be more efficient and use fewer calories for energy. When the body goes without enough fuel during a diet, it gets nervous, thinks it is starving, and conserves fat, kind of like an animal in hibernation. The same thing happens when meals are skipped, or the body goes longer than 4 hours without fuel.
When the diet ends and regular eating resumes, the body stores the extra calories as fat. What used to be enough calories is now too much. Plus, during this period of “starvation,” the body starts to use lean muscle tissue for fuel. Muscle cells are the ovens of the body, burning the food into energy. So at the end of a diet when the body is left with less muscle mass, there are ultimately fewer calories burning going on.
Well now you are thinking, this is great news. I shouldn’t diet! Better yet, work on adjusting your mindset, one lifestyle habit at a time. Even the simple idea of a diet will lead you towards failure since you know deep down that these eating habits aren’t forever. Instead, start your quest towards health. There is no magic bullet or special ingredient towards weight loss and a healthy life, but there is a basic equation to follow:
Sleep + Water + Exercise + Protein – (Starches + Saturated Fats) = SUCCESS
Start by getting 7-8 hours of sleep. Without adequate time for growth and repair, the body pumps out more of the hormone cortisol, this leads to increased fat around the middle and muscle breakdown. Add 64 ounces of pure water to hydrate and keep those calorie-burning cells in a comfortable environment. Also, staying hydrated keeps appetite controlled. Add more activity and aim for 150 minutes per week, but a stroll around the block is not enough. The goal of exercising is to get the heart rate up and the arms and legs pumping. Use talking as the barometer – exercise is anything done at an intensity above a talking pace. Lean (or low in saturated fat) protein should be the center of each meal whether it is chicken breast, ground turkey, fish or low fat dairy. Limit servings of carbohydrates to one per meal. One serving is 15 grams of carbohydrates which is equivalent to about a tennis ball size piece of fruit or ½ cup of cooked grains. Following this equation, you won’t need your crash diet next bikini season, and more importantly, you won't have the extra weight that comes after it!