Dr Mark Hyman has written about why diets fail ... and how you can succeed!
He makes the interesting observation that the majority of people gain on average 11 pounds each time they go on a diet.
As if this wasn't bad enough, it turns out that most people on a diet lose muscle as well as fat: and when they regain weight, it seems to be all fat!
To compound the problem, it turns out that muscle burns seven times many calories as fat, so that gaining this extra fat means your metabolism slows down ... and then, as you may well expect, people - that may mean you !- need even fewer calories to maintain the same weight.
Considering the effort that people put into dieting, all of this seems cruel and ironic. Yet the key to losing weight, and then maintaining a decent weight for your size, according to Mark Hyman, is simple: first, you work to reduce your appetite - you can do this by not starving yourself, but by adjusting the hormones that are out of balance in your body and the brain chemistry that causes you to feel hunger and then overeat.
Second, you increase your metabolism so that you're burning more calories during the day. As Mark says, most diets actually do the opposite -- they increase hunger and slow down a person's metabolism.
So bearing this in mind, he presents five reasons why most diets fail, and how you, unlike most people on a diet, can succeed.
Use Science NOT Willpower
His first suggestion as to why diets fail is that you're trying to use willpower instead of science to control your appetite. The sad fact of the matter is that most diets -- which means eating less -- will actually cause you to feel more hungry.
Of course! It's obvious, isn't it? These are biological imperatives which cause food cravings and sensations of hunger when food is short, but in response to them, one's metabolism slows down, so as to conserve energy.
This is a time when eating foods that are low in fat, and high in carbohydrate will actually increase your hunger and slow down your metabolism.
What this means in practice is that when you're on a diet you need to eat enough to satisfy your appetite, and what you should eat is only fresh and unprocessed wholefood. You should eat protein for breakfast, as well as avoiding food for three hours before bedtime.
Furthermore, you need to eat a combination of meals which will ensure that your blood sugar remains at normal levels, while your insulin is lowered. This in practice requires a combination of protein, fat and low glycemic but non-starchy carbohydrates, such as vegetables, fruit and small amounts of grains and beans. Eating fat and protein, and especially eating fibre, will all slow insulin spikes.
Focus ON Calories
The second thing that Mark Hyman offers is a focus on calories -- he points out that the science of calories in and calories out as an energy balance theory which is the key to weight loss is not justified scientifically.
The truth of the matter is that calories are not all the same: foods that spike insulin -- such as sugar, flour, and even excess grains, fruits and beans -- will actually shift your metabolism, so that all the fuel in your blood will be deposited in your fat cells.
At this point your body then believes that you are actually starving, so that hunger increases and metabolism slows. That's why you may experience hunger one hour after eating a big meal, and go off to snack or eat some chocolate.
Instead of succumbing to this biological process, the staples of your diet should be things that have a low glycemic index -- nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, organic meat and low glycemic vegetables. In addition you should consume grains and beans very carefully -- that is to say, by not taking more than half a cup once a day. All sugar is "the same" (high in calories and easily absorbed) and it isn't good for you at any time, let alone when on a diet. And finally artificial sweeteners are to be avoided because they actually trigger sweetness receptors, slow down your metabolism and increase your hunger pangs.
Hopefully by now you can see that dieting is definitely not a simple science: which is why, when you're doing it, you need the help of an expert who knows what he's talking about -- one expert who certainly does know what he's talking about is John Barban, who has written the Venus Factor for women and the Adonis Golden Ratio for men, which are both based on sound scientific principles, and have carefully planned nutritional programs which should enable you to avoid all these problems. You can see them here - www.losingweightfasts.com and www.bodybuildingweightprogram.com - the first is the Venus Factor, the second the Adonis Golden Ratio.
Don't Be Scared of Fat
Mark Hyman's third point is that most people think eating a low fat diet will help them to lose weight.
But the truth of the matter is that low-fat diets have not led to weight loss in the general population. And this is because it's not eating fat that makes you fat, but eating sugar. A low carbohydrate and high-fat vegan diet is much more effective for weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risk factors than a vegan low-fat diet.
This is truly revolutionary: it turns can conventional wisdom on its head. What Mark recommends is that you don't fear fat -- because it makes you feel full, it speeds it your metabolism, and it helps you lose weight.
The truth is that if you eat good fats at every meal such as avocado oil, nuts, seeds, coconut butter and so on together with organic animal fats and fish with omega-3 oils, you're going to do much better at losing weight than if you try and avoid fats need to high-carbohydrate diet.
Look For Other Factors
And his fourth point is that there may be other reasons which are causing resistance to weight loss: he mentions the specific aspect of physiology around inflammation.
Strangely enough, inflammation triggers weight gain by worsening insulin resistance; and inflammation can be caused by in many different things -- hidden food allergies or sensitivities, for example: we all know about gluten and dairy!
Then there are gut problems which can be caused by eating an unbalanced diet containing large quantities of refined sugar and low fibre, or even by taking antibiotics -- we're talking things like yeast infection, specifically from Candida albicans. And then again, there are a certain number of toxins, and environmental chemicals such as pesticides, pollutants, and so on, which are actually so-called "OBESOGENS" - in other words, they are chemicals which make you fat. And the interesting thing is that they make you fat regardless of how many calories you eat.
So in response to this Mark recommends not eliminating calories but getting rid of foods that might be causing inflammation, starting with gluten and dairy. In addition to this he recommends avoiding anything that could be affecting your intestines, such as drugs (including acid blockers, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories).
A low glycaemic, low fermentation diet, and the supplementation of this with probiotics should lead to a dramatic improvement. In addition, of course, it's possible to reduce toxins in your life by changing the environment in which you work and live, and indeed, by selecting your food more carefully.
Finally, he talks about having a plan as an essential part of ensuring that your diet succeeds. He's written a book called the The 10 Day Detox Diet, in which he focuses on the principle of intention and design -- which is to say, making sure that your environment and your circumstances are correct for adopting an effective diet plan.