One of the first things people tell me, when I ask them what their fitness goals are, is that they want to “lose weight”. What the majority of these people mean is that they want to lose FAT! People have become so fixated on what the little number on the scale tells them each day, that some may actually cease their exercise program because the little number says that they have gained a pound.
A pound of what? Remember, the simple scale is measuring your total body weight. This includes muscle, fat, bones, organs, undigested food, water, clothing, small children, anything that is in or on your body! Weighing yourself at a different time each day can give you a different result. But you all knew this. So you weigh yourself every morning, before breakfast, with no clothes on. No food in you, no excessive amount of water, and the kids are still in bed. Good! This is a bit more accurate. The bones and organs aren’t going to change, so you’re concerned with muscle and fat fluctuations.
What we now want to do is lose the fat! Fat is not only unsightly, but in excess, it poses major health risks such as: arteriosclerosis, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack, low back pain, (I could go on-and-on). Many fitness professionals have gotten away from the phrase “weight loss” and changed it to “fat loss”. Most of the fad diets out there promote weight loss, and that’s exactly what they do. They make you lose weight.
This, often quick, reduction in weight (YAY! The number on the scale has gone down!), usually comes from a decrease in body water. Some of the most popular diets these days (“low-carb”), can actually make your body start to eat it’s own muscle tissue! How pleasant! These diets are also very restrictive on the foods that you can eat. So much so, that the diets become boring, inconvenient, and even unpalatable. So people get off their diets, and the weight quickly comes back on, sometimes more than before the diet started. If all of these fad diets claim to work, why are there so many of them?