To Your Health
June, 2008 (Vol. 02, Issue 06)
Fasting or eliminating allergenic foods can help cleanse the body when done for a short duration. They also help decrease possible inflammatory responses to foods while giving the digestive system time to heal so problem foods can be reintroduced at a later date.
These types of restrictive diets should be done under the care of a physician or dietitian, due to complications that can arise if used for too long or in the wrong circumstances.
While considerable focus is placed on the types of foods we are or are not eating, liquid intake can be just as important. Empty calories in soda, additional caffeine and stimulants from coffee, and even excessive water consumption can leach out essential electrolytes from the body. The overall idea with restricting what we eat is to decrease the amount of energy used to break down what goes in and increase what comes out - namely energy. It also can help with certain medical conditions like diabetes, heart disease and chronic allergies, all of which have a strong correlation with food intake.
The Scale Is Not Always Your Friend
Now that you have earned your place in the front of the class and are beginning to see the benefits of eating varied, balanced meals, it's time to see how things are measuring up. Most weight loss is measured in pounds and inches with the help of scales and measuring tapes. If you're working with a personal trainer or physician, they might use body mass index (BMI) or total body-fat percentage. The numbers staring back at you might not actually be the best indication of the progress you're making. People often forget to take into consideration that lean muscle weighs more than fat tissue, so as you build more muscle, you will add on muscle weight.
A secret about the scale is that it doesn't care how much weight you gain or lose, or if it's accurate at all. So much emphasis is placed on the measurements we see and less so on how we feel. Changes in numeric measurements should be slow and gradual, which indicate healthy weight loss and ultimately is the best way to keep the weight off. Dramatic weight loss often leads to rebound weight gain once people begin to slip from their program's strict regime. Positive improvements such as increased energy, more restful sleep, changes in how clothes fit, and improved attitude toward continuing lifestyle modifications are all steps in the right direction.