Undoing Diet Disasters

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About 98% of people who go on a fast weight loss diet regain all the weight they lost (often with a few bonus kilos) within 12 months. According to nutritionist, Dr Rosemary Stanton, the more diets you try, the worse the situation becomes.

Fad diets cause problems

Your body can’t tell the difference between dieting and starvation. When you go on a crash diet the body cuts back on the energy it uses for exercise, as it would if you were starving.

If you go on a low carbohydrate diet and don’t eat enough bread, potatoes and grain foods, your body tries to break down protein to get glucose to keep the brain functioning. That protein often comes from lean muscle tissue, and since lean tissue burns kilojoules (even when you are at rest), when you go off the diet, your lower level of lean tissue means you won’t be able to burn as many kilojoules as you normally could.

If you’ve been a constant dieter, you can undo the damage and recover from the disaster if you:

Eat and drink sensibly

choose as much fresh food as you can avoid fast food avoid food that is high in fat and sugar avoid eating too much

Exercise more

Exercising will help your metabolism recover from a diet disaster. You could go to the gym, but your body may then react by burning fewer kilojoules for the rest of the day. It’s much better to be generally more active. For example you could: walk up stairs rather than using lifts or escalators park at the edge of the car park and walk to the door, instead of parking right next to it use public transport, and walk to the station or bus stop go for a walk or go outside and play with the kids do some gardening

Rosemary says that undoing a dieting disaster takes time, but with sensible eating and some exercise, it can be done.