Tue | Jun 18, 2019

Fit 4 Life | ‘Summa’ body diet don'ts

Published:Tuesday | May 21, 2019 | 6:30 PMMarvin Gordon/Contributor
Starving yourself will leave you dealing with fatigue and brain fog, thereby affecting your productivity and mood. It might also leave you irritable, cranky, and agitated. Not only will these changes in mental state affect your work, but it could also ruin your family life.

The 'summa' body treasure hunt is in full swing. Many are searching for a dieting solution to their weight-loss problem. By the time the summer is done, some will have tried four or five different diets.

Now, we do not recommend dieting; a long-term commitment to practising a healthy nutritional lifestyle is the way to go. But, since you are going to diet anyway, you might as well do it properly. With that in mind, there are a few things you should never do.

Here's a look at the starvation diet many people turn to for results.

NO POINT STARVING YOURSELF

Even though it takes time to get out of shape, most people still believe you can get in shape in no time if you are extreme enough, so the starvation diet is still alive and kicking. Yes, that one; the one where you want to lose some body fat fast so you decide to eat as little food as possible, starting immediately. Some people go as far as a few crackers and a few cups of water a day. 

A five-minute Google search should help you to resist the urge. But here is a quick list of reasons not to:

1. It is not sustainable. Put simply: It's incredibly hard to get through even a few hours of this diet.

2. It hurts your health. You are literally starving yourself. Not only are you reducing calories, you are also severely limiting micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals – things your body need to function properly. This puts your body into "starvation mode" opens you to a wave of health risks; even death.

3. You lose muscle. When starving yourself, you might see your weight go down, but you will also notice a quick reduction in muscle mass as your body doesn't have the nutrients it needs to maintain its tissues. In fact, studies suggest that you might lose muscle mass while maintaining body fat. 

4. It makes weight-loss harder. Not only does your body enter starvation mode and try to hold on to as much of its nutrient content – including body fat – as possible, but low energy levels also reduce your ability to train. Add that to the lower performance from smaller, weaker muscles, and training sessions become much less effective.  

5. It could result in significant weight gain. When you finally start eating again,  you will try to make up for the lost time; indulging every unhealthy urge you tried to resist during the diet – and doing so over a short period of time. Anyone who has ever been on a diet knows you are always counting down the time till you can have your favourite foods. Imagine what happens when you have been eating next to nothing. 

6. It affects behaviour. Starving yourself will leave you dealing with fatigue and brain fog, thereby affecting your productivity and mood. It might also leave you irritable, cranky, and agitated. Not only will these changes in mental state affect your work, but it could also ruin your family life.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email: marvin.gordon@physiqueandfunction.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com