The human body is a self-sustaining machine. All people have to do is supply it with energy in the form of food and the body does the rest. The body uses energy to keep the brain, heart, lungs, and all organs and body tissues functioning in a state of health. However, the body is a hoarder; it holds onto every extra bit of energy it accumulates. It stuffs the excess energy into little sacs called fat cells. When people diet to get rid of the energy stash, the hoarder switches on its protective mode. If the dieter succeeds at losing weight, success is short-lived. The hoarder will not tolerate having its property stolen. It eventually increases the need for energy, making the dieter eat more to replenish its fat stores.
The Body Is Not Programmed for Dieting
The human body is programmed to hoard fat, not lose it. When the body’s energy supply is threatened, it goes into starvation mode, a built-in safeguard to protect its energy stores. Dieters call this a plateau. To succeed at weight loss, dieters must learn how to trick the hoarder.
Grab the Fat and Get out Fast
The hoarder works on a time switch that is activated within 48 to 72 hours after dieting begins. Dieters have a minimum of 48 hours, two days, to flush out excess fat before triggering starvation mode. The secret to success is planning, but watch out for the pitfalls. To avoid alerting the hoarder, adequate nutrition – not calories – must be maintained. For two days a week, which will later be increased to three days a week, reduce calories by eliminating one meal per day. Unless people customarily eat an unhealthy diet, there is no reason to change the type of food they eat. The contents of the remaining two meals can be divided into three meals, if desired. Eat a normal breakfast. The main meal should combine a healthy balance of vegetables, fruit, a protein food, whole grain carbohydrates and healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Avoid refined flour products, sugar and trans fats, and limit or avoid saturated fats.
Increase Weight Loss
During the 48-hour period, dieters should work in some additional physical activity for 30 to 45 minutes each day, if there are no health problems that prohibit exercise. Any continuous activity or movement increases the metabolic process and burns extra calories. My weight management clients would ride a stationary or regular bicycle, walk their dogs, take a walk during a lunch break, mow the lawn, run, jog, do house work, vacuum and wash the car. The type of activity is not important as long as it involves continuous movement.
Step Up the Pace
Once people become comfortable missing two meals a week, a third two-meal day can be added. Some people find three consecutive days of eating only two meals per day too difficult; they prefer to skip one day in between. If weight loss stops after adding the third day, eliminate it and continue with two, two-meal days a week. Weight loss with the “Hoarders Diet,” is about one-to-two-pounds per week for most people. If you lose more weight, eliminate one two-meal day. Before making any dietary changes, seek the advice of your physician to rule out any health issues.
United Nations University Press, “Effect of Starvation and Very Low Calorie Diets on Protein-Energy Interrelationships in Lean and Obese Subjects”
Better Health, “Metabolism Explained”