Posted on 05/15/2014 at 12:00 AM by Embria Health Sciences
By Lisa Metzgar
Apart from the dream-like vision of a slimmer “after” photo, dieting also brings visions of starving oneself, and feeling tired, weak and cranky. Why all the misery? The reason is that most diet programs involve radically cutting back on overall calories with the hope that you will lose weight. After the quick weight loss, the weight is usually quickly regained when the dieter returns to his/ her usual eating habits. This type of dieting, sometimes called “crash dieting,” can lead to short-term weight loss, but can mentally and physically take its toll on our bodies and our health in general. We need to shift the way we think about health and weight loss. There is no quick fix to being overweight, but if you give your body the right balance of nutrients while you engage in moderate exercise and rest, it will usually reward you with great health and an ideal weight over time.
When we starve ourselves to lose weight quickly our bodies go into survival mode. We start degrading our muscle mass to use as energy and in turn our metabolism slows way down. Our immune system needs rest, inner harmony and proper nutrients to function optimally. Any shock to our body can “stress” the immune system. Extreme dieting puts a strain on all our body functions especially our heart and immune system.
It’s more than an opinion; it’s science. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that the more a woman diets in her life (also called “yo-yo dieting”), the more her immune function decreased as measured by natural killer (NK) cell activity. Natural killer cells are white blood cells vital to our immune system. The study showed that women who had more than five major weight loss and gains had a third less NK cell activity than normal. On the other hand, women who maintained their weight for 5 or more years had 40 percent more NK cell activity than women who maintained their weight for less than 2 years.
There is a misconception that our bodies need radical cleanses to be healthy. In fact, starvation diets or radical detox diets will also destroy your healthy gut flora. The majority of our immune system resides in our gut, and if you don’t feed your gut’s bacterial flora with proper nutrients like fiber and probiotics, then our immune system may suffer. Just cutting out unhealthy foods like sugar, processed foods, soda, and alcohol will help to detoxify your body. Eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein will not only help you lose weight but feed your body the essential nutrients it needs to develop a strong immune system.
Extreme exercise can harm our immune system by putting stress on the body. It is important to move your body and get regular exercise, but you don’t need to spend hours in the gym everyday to lose weight and be healthy. Certain scientifically tested dietary supplements like EpiCor have been shown to strengthen immune response, and thereby help people live more healthy days.
Yo-yo dieting, crash dieting, extreme detox diets, and excessive exercise can all lead to poor health. The key to a healthy life and healthy weight is to get the proper nutrients, moderate exercise, and consistently good sleep. A healthy, balanced body will find its optimal weight. Not only will you look great, you will feel great, too!
Categories: Lisa Metzgar