This is a guest post by Krisca Te, Australia’s leading provider of TAFE courses
A friend told me the other day:
“What’s the point of dieting? I go on a diet, I avoid certain food that I like, I eat less and watch the pounds fall off. I am very happy with myself; with my dedication, with my success over my appetite. Then it takes a few months or a few years and I’m right back where I’ve started. So why go through all this? My body apparently is happy to be at this weight. ”
But are you?
It is not only about the way you look, it’s about health. Research shows over and over again that a restrictive calorie diet in mice results in healthier and longer living animals. The regularly fed mice became fat, grew older sooner and their coat was matted, turning grey and shedding. The others, those who got less food were leaner, looked healthier and their coat was shiny and retained its color.
So, it is probably healthy for human beings to be a little less heavy than our bodies feel comfortable in.
Because our bodies are such intricate machines, they are ready for different kinds of disasters. If a virus or bacteria attack the body, the white blood cells are sent to fight the intruder. When we inhale large particles, our body reacts with a sneeze. The body’s ultimate ‘survival kit’ is the fat it is storing, mainly around the waist, for leaner times.
This fat accumulates in fat cells that split and divide to be able to store more. The old ones do not disappear. The fat coats inner organs as well. To be ready, just in case the calories you intake would amount to less than what it needs to operate.
And the circle continues – more fat, heavier mass, less air, less physical activity. Less physical activity, less calories spent, easier for the fat to accumulate.
Back to my friend. I’ve seen her shed some and gain some. I’ve seen her happy in lean times and miserable when she gained the weight back. This yoyo of gaining weight and shedding is so unhealthy for our hearts, doctors tell us.
- It’s not about the kind of diet you are doing; it’s about your life style.
- It is not about the amount of food you are eating, it’s about the kind of foods.
- It’s not about being in the optimal weight as far as some chart indicates, but being in the optimal shape as far as your body is concerned.
- Dieting and exercise are not something that has to be done periodically, but all the time. Shedding weight and keeping it down means a change of lifestyle.
There are hundreds of diets on the market; low calorie diets, low carb diet, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, The South Beach diet, Pritikin, Ornish, Attkins. The list goes on and on. There are diets that tell you to eat by your body type, by your blood type, or by your body shape. It does matter, for your health, what method you’ll be using to shed the pound, but to keep the pounds off, you have to be physically active.
The way to get your body in the right shape is to exercise. It has to become a priority on the list of things you have to do today. Any physical activity that raises your heart rate and leaves you a little bit breathless will do. Being healthy sometimes means pushing yourself to the uncomfortable zone for a few minutes. But the endorphins the body releases in this case will more than make up to it.
That is what my friend did. She likes walking and she does it for at least one hour every day. She also discovered she can combine walking with another love of hers, books. Something she had no time to do lately. Now she downloads the books on to her iPod and listens to them while walking.
Krisca Te works with Open Colleges, Australia’s leading provider of TAFE courses equivalent and fitness courses. When not working, you can find her actively participating in local dog show events – in support of her husband.