Q. Can I eat whatever I want as long as I exercise?
A. The majority of daily caloric expenditure is not in the time spent exercising but in the total energy expenditure during 24 hours. Approximately 3,500 calories equals one pound of body fat, so to lose one to two pounds per week, one must maintain an average caloric deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day. However, a person may burn 250 calories from exercise and spend the rest of the day participating in sedentary activities. Calories that are not used for energy production are stored as fat. Therefore, a person can eat 100 calories a day more than what their body needs to maintain, and in the course of 35 days, theoretically they will gain a pound of fat. Even a mere 10 extra calories a day over daily maintenance needs could add up to a pound of weight gain over 350 days!
Q. What are the risks of starvation (very low calorie) diets?
A. Most nutrition experts do not recommend an energy intake any lower than 1,200 calories, and even that may be too low for an active or very large person.
Very low calorie diets (VLCD) should be followed only under the supervision of a medical professional. A VLCD is a doctor-supervised diet that typically uses commercially prepared formulas to promote rapid weight loss in patients who are obese. These formulas, usually liquid shakes or bars, replace all food intake for several weeks or months. VLCD formulas need to contain appropriate levels of vitamins and micronutrients to ensure that patients meet their nutritional requirements. People on a VLCD consume about 800 calories per day or less.
When used under proper medical supervision, VLCDs may produce significant short-term weight loss in patients who are moderately to extremely obese. VLCDs should be part of a comprehensive weight-loss treatment program that includes behavior therapy, nutrition counseling and physical activity. Additionally, long-term maintenance of weight loss with VLCDs is poor and no better than other forms of obesity treatment.
Some of the risks of following an overly restrictive diet include:
[On a personal note, clients I've worked with whose "diet doctors" prescribed a VLCD for them had poor long-term results. They were cranky, hungry and lethargic. While they did lose weight, it was determined that much of what they lost was lean mass--a most unfortunate outcome since muscle is your body's fat-burning engine. When your body lacks sufficient nourishment, it becomes catabolic. That's a scientific term for the state your body enters when it's starved and begins to break down muscle tissue. You must eat to fuel optimal results!]
SUBSCRIBE HERE to FitnessIsFreedom.net!
Molly is a wife, mom,
CLICK HERE AND ENTER YOUR NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS TO RECEIVE THE LATEST NEWS FROM FITNESSISFREEDOM.NET!
I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.