Detoxes, cleanses, fasts and diets can be an effective tool for losing weight and getting healthy, under the supervision of your doctor. Yet, rarely do these methods stick and keep you at your ideal weight and health status alone. Diets shouldn’t the only tool in your fitness toolbox.
It’s said, “We are what we eat.” However, your physical and mental health benefit the most by balancing delicious, healthy food with daily activity. Maintain your fitness goals the old fashion way, by combining a healthy diet with working out.
Why Diets Don’t Cut It Alone
From the anti-carb Atkins to eating like a caveman Paleo, dieting fads replace each other nearly as often as shifting fashion trends. Why don’t these fads become healthy eating mainstays?
Diets don’t work for the reasons you’d suspect. Psychologist Traci Mann, professor at the University of Minnesota, says that it’s not about self-control and that long term dieting is impossible. In her book, “Secrets from the Eating Lab,” Mann discusses her lab findings on why diets fail and the relationship people have with food.
So, why do dieters overeat? Mann suggests that dieting is destined to fail because your entire body undergoes so many biological changes while you’re eating differently. It becomes impossible to keep weight off. In fact, there are three biological changes that your body juggles:
- Neurological: Your brain is highly-sensitive and responsive to food as a trigger, increasing the reward value when cravings are satisfied. Food has a hypnotic effect, suddenly.
- Hormonal: As you shed body fat, hormones in the body change—the hormones that helped you feel full drastically decrease. You overeat.
- Metabolic: Your metabolism slows down. Your body utilizes calories in the most efficient way, which sounds great, if you were starving. This isn’t great in reality because when your body runs itself on fewer calories, more are leftover, which are stored as fat. Thanks, body.
Maintaining a healthy weight is about more than willpower. Diets do affect the body but trigger neurological, hormonal and metabolic effects that may work against your fitness goals, when this is the only tool utilized. You have to do something with those leftover calories: work out.
The Benefits of Working Out While Eating Healthy
Yes, sweating is gross. Yes, you may feel like you’re dying at first. Yes, you are more likely to achieve and maintain your fitness goals when you combine healthy eating with working out.
There are amazing benefits to getting physically active consistently and maintaining a balanced diet. Your mind and body notice these changes almost immediately:
- Resist temptation. Kiss addictions to sugar, cigarettes and even food triggers goodbye, because scientists discovered that the endorphin rush achieved during exercise affect the same neural pathways as addictive substances. Exercise is a powerful tool to help you resist temptation.
- Build strong bones. Eating leafy greens, drinking milk and taking calcium supplements aren’t the only ways to build strong bones. Increase bone density and decrease your risk of osteoporosis by doing weight-bearing exercises.
- Don’t worry. Be happy. Those who exercise regularly report higher self-esteem and lower occurrences of negative thought patterns. If you have an issue with emotional eating, exercise is a more useful replacement behavior.
- Get a restful sleep. Exercise is basically Ambien in a natural form. Those who exercise regularly report better quality of sleep and less incidences of insomnia.
- Bye-bye belly fat. Just as there are healthy and unhealthy fats in food, there are both kinds in the body. There are two kinds of fat—white fat (remains inert) and brown fat (provides a metabolic boon), and brown fat burns stored energy and “bad fat” efficiently. Hip fat and thigh fat in women have hormonal benefits. The belly fat around your internal organs can be harmful, but the good news that it’s the most susceptible to high-intensity exercise.
There are many benefits to exercise for the body and mind. Diets are more efficient, long-lasting and enjoyable when combined with exercise to achieve your fitness goals.
Tips to Stick with Your Fitness Goals
What should you do make sure you hit your goals? It’s easy enough to develop a fitness routine three times a week, but life often finds a way to get in the way. Remember, it’s important to keep your active lifestyle consistent to remain healthy even when you go on vacation. Here’s how to stay on track with your fitness goals:
- Take healthy snacks with you on the go. Protein and fiber bars are healthy choices that keep you full and energized.
- Drink plenty of water regularly. Cravings are sometimes signals that you need water, instead.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule, because sleep deprivation affects your metabolism and causes your body to crave more energy. This leads you to load up on carbs.
- If out of town on vacation or traveling for business, choose a room with a kitchenette to make most of your meals, including a high protein breakfast.
Diet fads and weight loss trends are not efficient to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle in the long term alone. When altering your diet, your body juggles biological changes and responses. Adding exercise to your fitness toolbox, while eating healthy and well-balanced meals, will help you hit and maintain your fitness goals.
Kacey Mya is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.
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