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Dieting is not everything: the ten things you need to know to lose weight effectively and lastingly

When we say that “Dieting is not everything” we need to understand what are the different factors that affect weight loss. Unbalanced nutrition, little exercise and the underestimation of factors related to age or biology can compromise the results and the damage to the body will be significant.

How many people will be tempted to get in shape after these holidays, albeit atypical? After binges a few more jogs and then on with yet another diet fatally destined to fail after a few weeks or, worse, to give great satisfaction in the first months and then bring the balance back even further than when it started . Why does this happen? Because before adopting any weight loss regimen there are at least ten things you need to know.

There are no “shortcuts” to fast results

In reality, fast diets exist but in the long run they do not work: either because they are difficult to maintain (too many rules, too little food, too many limits), or because they have harmful effects. Many crash diets based on restrictions and prohibitions shed pounds quickly, but are unbalanced. Like the “paleo-diet” and the like in vogue: lots of animal proteins, some vegetables and fruit, some fat and zero carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread). “The vision, scientifically naive, is that our genome is largely the same as that of our hunter-gatherer ancestors – explains Stefano Erzegovesi, specialist in Psychiatry and Food Science, head of the Eating Disorders Center of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan – hence the advice to eat like them. But the myth of the healthy, strong and muscular “good savage” does not take into account that, for environmental reasons and not just food, our ancestors did not live long. In the long term, the excess of nitrogenous waste and the pro-inflammatory effect linked to an excess of animal proteins lead to a reduction in the quality and duration of life “.

There are no totally bad (or good) foods

The considerations on a diet characterized by too many proteins, lead straight to the second point: unlike what is believed, and often we read to lose weight we must not abolish entire food groups from the diet: “On the contrary, it is good to introduce all foods in the right quantities. Completely (or almost completely) abolishing carbohydrates is a mistake because as macronutrients they are not the most caloric (for the same weight, fats are more), then because they are important for the sense of satiety and for the energy they give to the brain and body ». Each nutrient has its function, the proportions to be respected are those of the Mediterranean diet and, if you want to lose weight, you have to act on the quantity, decreasing the calorie intake “.

The pounds lost quickly are recovered “with interest”

Another important consideration to keep in mind is that when a diet fails, the pounds lost are always recovered “with interest”: you get to weigh more than before. And that’s not enough. The infamous “yo-yo effect” is deleterious: it changes the body’s metabolism making us even more “resistant” to weight loss, in a vicious circle that is increasingly difficult to break.

The metabolism needs time to “reset”

How long does it take for the metabolism to “get used to” the new weight? Here is the fourth key factor: after an overweight life, it can take months or years for our bodies to “behave thin”. Usually the maintenance of weight loss after six months from a diet is very low. You can say you have “made it” when the goal achieved is maintained after 6-12 months. But if you go back to eating as before, your weight will rise again.

You have to get used to eating less and better, forever

The weight loss must be stable over time, also because those who have lost weight will have to eat less than before despite the diet is over. “A 60-year-old who now weighs 90 kilos, but once weighed 130, will need far fewer calories per day than someone of the same age and size who has never been overweight. Surely the quantity of food is fundamental, but the most important thing, for those who want to maintain the results obtained, is the quality of the food. Very often the obese do not eat a lot, but they prefer high calorie foods. Instead you can eat large quantities of foods as long as they are healthy. The right formula is to introduce lasting changes in nutrition, based on a healthy diet that is easy to adopt for the rest of your life, a process that is not simple in terms of habits and especially difficult from a psychological point of view.

Make sure you have the right motivation

Trendy diets are so attractive to our psyche because we are looking for the “magic pill” and a quick and “painless” way to get there. Instead we must commit ourselves. Unfortunately, respecting a low-calorie and balanced diet is not easy, even when it is followed in the best way. It takes a lot of effort and willpower: those who have to lose a lot of pounds are a subject who has a much more pressing urge to hunger than others, seeks an emotional reward in food and has a familiarity with overweight and obesity. For this reason we must find the right motivation and help, with gratifications that come from other activities, such as sport .

Get adequate physical activity regularly

Sport is necessary. Training acts on the body with peculiar physiological mechanisms that favor weight loss. There is no lasting weight loss unless accompanied by adequate exercise, which helps achieve the goal of the diet and shapes the physique.

Age-related variations

Even the fact that as we age we move less and eat more is one of the variables that affects our weight over time: the eighth element to keep in mind is that after the age of 40 it will be more difficult to lose weight: Even those who they remain active, starting from the age of 30, decade after decade, they lose muscle mass replacing it with fat mass. Older people also tend to have more pain and be more sedentary, often using food as emotional comfort, finally, the taste and olfactory sensory of an elderly person decays with time. This leads to favoring a repetitive diet with very pronounced tastes, for example very sweet or very salty, so that even small quantities can affect the total calorie intake.

Gender differences

Being a woman also makes the “struggle” with the scales more difficult. In the fertile age, hormonal variations increase hunger; in pre-menopause and menopause, then, with the decrease in estrogen, fat replaces lean mass. There are peculiar aspects of female biology, to which are added considerations on the role of women in society.

Refrain from food every now and then, but with intelligence

Finally, a tenth factor that can benefit those who have chosen to lose weight (but not only). The ancient practice of fasting, which also helps and seems to have the power to rejuvenate cells, but is not for everyone.

I hope you enjoyed my article on why Dieting is not everything, and that I managed to help you at least in get a clear picture about what are the factors you should take into count when going on a diet.

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