FOOD FOR THOUGHT
DITCH THE DIET – IT IS ONLY MAKING YOU FATTER
Dr Nick Fuller, Research Director at Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, recently published Interval Weight Loss: How to Trick Your Body into Losing Weight One Month at a Time (Ebury Press). The goal is to lose a small amount of weight and then to take a break, maintaining the new body weight for a period of time before losing another small amount. Here he explains how it works.
“The reason diets don’t work and many people end up dieting themselves fatter and fatter is because we are tuned to a set body weight – a weight that our body feels most comfortable being. When we take our body out of that comfort zone through dieting or a reduction of energy intake, our body works to counteract the weight loss and in a state of stress the body’s innate response will be to store rather than offload weight.
This is in part a fight or flight response (in this instance, the energy restriction is the acute stress our body is responding to) and is core to the survival of the human species. The weight regain comes with a greater initial increase in fat mass. However, our body weight will often keep going up until our muscle mass stores are restored and what you end up with is a body that has a little extra fat storage to survive the next “starvation” (otherwise known as a diet) it has learned it needs to prepare for.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off forever, you need to trick your body into a new set point. That’s the basis of the Interval Weight Loss approach. Here’s how it works.
- Month 1: Aim to lose about 2kg (4lb 4oz), that’s around ½ a kilo (500 grams) or a bit over 1lb a week (17oz).
- Month 2: Maintain that new weight.
- Month 3: Aim to lose about 2kg (4lb 4oz).
- Month 4: Maintain that new weight.
- Month 5: Aim to lose about 2kg (4lb 4oz.
- Month 6: Maintain that new weight.
And to continue month by month with the above plan until you achieve your realistic goal weight. So, rather than activating the fight or flight response, the body is gently challenged to redefine its baseline body weight until you achieve your goal.”
Nick is currently leading an Interval Weight Loss challenge on Channel Ten’s Studio 10 which will guide five people through a controlled lifestyle plan, with lasting results. “The selected viewers will follow Interval Weight Loss for a year under my health care professional advice and we will show the Australian people how to actually go about weight loss,” he added, “and in the confines of their day to day lives, unlike the weight loss shows we are used to in the past, where contestants are taken to secluded environments and forced to do activities they cannot sustain.”