I'm sure you have a friend that is always starting a diet every other week and they really get serious right after New Years. Let's take my friend Peter for example. Peter met me for lunch one day at our favorite restaurant. We've been going to this restaurant for quite some time now and we both have our favorite dish. I get the chicken house dish he gets the bacon cheeseburger. Today something was different; Peter shocked me and ordered the salad with grilled chicken. "Hey, are you feeling okay? Peter replied, I started my diet today! I'm taking the family to Hawaii in October so I only have a few months to get in shape. "That's great!" I said and we began to talk about what was going on with our businesses. By the way, the chicken was fantastic!
Two weeks later, Peter called me to go and play some golf. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw him! In just a few weeks, he had lost weight and he really looked good. Peter even played one of his best rounds of golf. It was great to see him in such great spirits!
The following week, my family and I were invited to a birthday party for Peter's son. Peter still looked good. I asked him if he was still losing weight, he paused and said not this week. "I hit a plateau, but I'm doing an extra spin class at the gym for the next few weeks to give me some extra help." I could see it in his eyes that he almost seemed worried, but I didn't think anything of it. The next day, my family and I were leaving for a two-week vacation. So, I didn't see Peter until our next golf outing. I couldn't believe it when I saw him. He had gained back the weight he lost. He was standing there washing down a candy bar with a diet cola. "Peter what happened? He replied, I know I fell off the wagon! I gave in to the cravings!"
In Peter's case, was the goal to lose weight and then gain it back. Repeat this four or five times and see how you begin to feel about yourself. Failure seems to be the inevitable. Unfortunately, this is a common story out there in the fitness arena. The fitness industry is a $50 billion industry; consumers are spending a lot of money on trying to get into shape. Yet, there is a 90% failure rate in finding a solution. Why? Consumers blame themselves when they fail. People need to question the products or the latest diet book for not getting them results.
Let's speak the truth about what happened to Peter. It was not his fault! Peter was missing some basic scientific components that guarantee to get results. They are: 1. Proper nutrition 2. Moderate aerobic exercise 3. Build and protect muscle because that is where fat is burned. Regardless of age, size, weight and height, these components work for everyone. In Peter's case, he began a new diet from one of the latest best-selling diet books. His breakfast consisted of fruit and an egg omelet.
For lunch, a salad with chicken and dinner was meat with vegetables. Seems healthy? Especially, when he was eating cheeseburgers, fries and pizza all week long. The problem was that Peter went on a diet that cut out a tremendous amount of calories. A calorie-restricted diet will always leave you short of a fitness goal. The reason is, the initial weight loss is not what it seems. It's a combination of water, a little fat and muscle. Remember, we need to protect muscle because that is the place where we burn fat. If you lose muscle, you have just shrunk the furnace. Also, if you leave out a nutrient that you need to sustain life, your body will protect itself by overcompensating due to the perceived loss of it - one of the reasons why you gain back more weight when you go back to your old eating habits.
So, as Peter continued on his diet, his body's built-in mechanism kicked in and the inevitable plateau was hit. Peter was on a low-carbohydrate diet. The problem here is, there are these little enzymes that gang up on the chemicals in your brain driving your body back to the nutrient (carbohydrates & sugar) you took out or cut back on. So, cravings have nothing to do with will-power. It's due to brain chemistry. The right type and amount of carbohydrates (complex carbohydrates) can actually help stop cravings, boost metabolism and control blood sugar for more optimal fat burning. A sound nutritional program includes eating metabolism-boosting meals every 3 to 3 1/2 hours. These meals consist of a good lean protein with starchy and fibrous carbohydrates.
Joe Riccardi is a CORFIT Master Level Instructor and the NY Regional director for the internationally recognized CORFIT Personal Trainer Certification. Joe's vision, mission and plan is to educate the public with basic fitness truth. Joe is a member of the American Association of Personal Trainers, AAPT. For more information about Joe's up coming programs and seminars, contact him at Higher Level Health and Fitness 613-584-7004 414 Lake Ave. St. James NY 11780