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Obese Body Chemistry Makes Dieting Harder

Life isn’t fair and nowhere is that more evident than the findings from a new study. It appears that obese people who begin a diet with drastic changes will often do more harm than good.

“When obese persons reduce their food intake too drastically, their bodies appear to resist their weight loss efforts. They may have to work harder and go slower in order to outsmart their brain chemistry,” said Gregory G. Freund, a professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and a member of University’s Division of Nutritional Sciences.

Freund makes a point of telling people to not start their dieting with a cleansing day, since this seems to trigger changes in the immune system that counter weight loss efforts. The fast-start approach to dieting may also bring on brain chemistry changes that significantly alter mood and motivation levels.

This study is a pretty good argument against fad diets that almost always invariably make drastic changes to how you eat. I think there is something positive to be taken from this seemingly bad news.

Even before reading about this study, I espoused the psychological benefits to incremental lifestyle changes. For instance, if you drink sugary soda twice a day, start by cutting it down to once a day or once every other day. Better yet, do one diet soda and increase your water intake.

If exercise intimidates you, try walking three times a week before you graduate to strength training. Look at it this way: you’re better off starting some form of exercise than being paralyzed with intimidation and not doing it at all.

Dramatic changes in your diet will make it feel like deprivation, which almost always leads to failure. If you stick to small changes and moderate occasional indulgences, you set yourself up for a better shot at success.

(via: Science Daily)

June 28th, 2011

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