Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Amazing TOP SECRET of the Fitness Industry;

I have spent a lot of time listening to people’s latest and greatest ‘tricks’ for getting skinny and, quite frankly, it is making me a little bit crazy. I want to share a secret with everyone reading this post. Here it comes: regular exercise and proper diet will get you in shape and keep you healthy. I know it is an amazing revelation that I am sharing today and it appears that this is a difficult “secret” for many to grasp. I am going to delve into a couple of myths in the fitness industry over the next few weeks. My first victim is the low carbohydrate and extremely low calorie diet.

There are many low carbohydrate diets out there and it seems they all get their fifteen minutes of fame. I have recently come across the latest “miracle” in weight loss - the ‘800-calorie a day, no exercise’ diet. This diet consists of eating 800-1000 calories a day with very few carbohydrates. Because this dieter would most likely pass out if they attempted any physical activity, this is also a “no exercise” diet. It has to be! The list of things wrong with this line of thought is so long I am just going to limit it to the low-carb and no-activity aspects of this particular spectacle.

The first and most important thing for every reader on this post to do is to look up ‘beta-oxidation’, the process in which fats are burned. I will not go into great detail here, but the most essential thing for a no-carbohydrate dieter to know is that, without carbs, you cannot burn fat. It simply becomes impossible. The initial reaction the body will have is to lose weight and I am sure more than one reader will note that, if you cut out all carbohydrates, you will have nothing left to burn but proteins and fats. While this first step is true and pounds will be lost, it will also be short-lived. The body does not buy into the tricks we throw at it for very long. Our metabolism will slow. Our body will go into emergency panic mode and start storing fat as quickly as it can because it becomes all-too-aware of that it is being deprived.

The “no activity” aspect of this particular diet is especially troubling. Delving into the many reasons why physical activity is so important would encourage me into a tirade that I could carry for months so I am not going to go that route. Instead I will consider the philosophy behind this method. Is the most important thing really to just be as skinny as possible? Is weight loss really more important than health? If so, at what cost? I know a way to get skinny very fast without exercise or diet… take up crack and I guarantee you will lose a whole lot of weight. Fast! Of course, it would be absurd to totally commit yourself to a horrible drug in order to lose weight, but really how far away from intentionally starving ourselves is this type of diet?

When we look at making changes in our health and fitness strategies, we should first ask ourselves a few critical questions. 1. Is it a sustainable change? 2. Is this going to make me healthier? 3. What am I willing to give up in order to obtain my goal? If you are willing to give up health and long-term sustainability, then all bets are off. Chop a leg off to lose weight or start smoking crack to fit into that bikini, but, if you would like to become healthy and fit and stay that way for life, then you are choosing to go with the “secret”. If you eat a proper and balanced diet and exercise regularly, you will lose weight and be healthy. I know this seems silly-simple and, frankly, it is. The problem is that eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly is not always easy, but, in case you haven’t checked, neither is starving yourself. So pick your path. Long term sustainable health or a quick weight loss while sacrificing your health and long-term success. What will it be?

~ Yoshia

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