3 Little-Known Ways Your Body Can Put on Fat... Even While Dieting
We diet to look better, feel better, and enjoy better health. Most commonly, we diet to lose weight.
But did you know that millions of people actually gain weight on their diets? Of course, some people fall off the wagon and binge their way back up the scale, but for many, it’s simply a case of being too virtuous.
To end your diet lighter than you began, avoid these common diet mistakes that can make you fatter:
The Fattening Feast & Famine Cycle
Did you know that diets have been proven to make the human body more efficient at storing fat?
That’s disappointing news for the millions of people who start a new diet each year, but it’s simple science. The human body was designed to preserve itself during times of famine.
The problem is that, in modern days, most of us have replaced famine with diets.
Consider a typical yo-yo dieter. They go on a diet, lose some weight, go off the diet, and regain what they lost – plus a little extra.
This cycle leaves many people heavier than they were before they started dieting. Their bodies, confused by periods of low caloric intake, do exactly what they were designed to do: store more fat to survive these periods of self-induced famine.
To avoid this, it’s important to view healthy eating not as a temporary fix, but as a lifestyle. Choose a food plan you can comfortably follow 85% of the time, for the rest of your life.
The “Skinny Fat Person” Syndrome
Your weight is not the only indicator of dietary success or failure. Since muscle is heavier and denser than fat, it’s possible for a perfectly healthy slender person to outweigh their same-sized peers. Healthy thinness is achieved by regular exercise, strength-training, and a balanced diet.
Unhealthy thinness is achieved by starving the body. This often happens when a dieter uses their weight as the only benchmark of success. As they decrease their calories, their bodies begin to store fat due to the famine effect described above.
Their weight may decrease, but only because their bodies are beginning to feed off of their healthy, lean muscle mass.
To ensure optimal health, measure your body fat percentage. This can be done with calipers, or by visiting a gym where your measurement can be taken electronically.
Women should have a body fat percentage between 21% and 36%. Men should have a body fat percentage of 8% to 25%.
If your weight is low but your body fat percentage is high, you should improve your nutrition and start a strength-training regimen. Your weight might increase as you become leaner but, in this situation, that’s actually a good thing.
Artificial Sweeteners are Not Your Friend
Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Texas have concluded studies involving the effect of artificial sweeteners on weight gain.
Their findings are disturbing: test animals at Purdue gained more weight from saccharine than from natural sugar.
The University of Texas researchers were shocked to find that the risk of obesity was higher in people who drank only diet sodas.
How on earth do test subjects gain weight on 0-calories sweeteners? There are many theories.
Some researchers believe that artificial sweeteners actually stimulate the appetite, increasing hunger and making dieters eat more. Others think that dieters might believe they deserve more treats because they’ve been consuming 0-calorie foods and drinks.
Either way, the facts are certain: some, if not most, dieters gain more weight when they exclusively use artificial sweeteners.
To keep this from happening to you, give yourself the go-ahead to eat sugar – in small amounts, and on special occasions.
As you can see, the dieter isn’t always to blame when they gain weight while on a diet. It’s often not a matter of willpower at all.
Keep yourself out of starvation mode and avoid chemical sweeteners whenever possible, and you will eliminate two of the most common diet saboteurs.