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How Not to Diet

Posted by bmagnus On September - 11 - 2009

Someone once said that “Diet is Die with a T on the end.” That bad joke has become tragically true for Samantha Clowe, who went on a 500 calorie a day diet to avoid being a “fat bride.” She had lost 60 pounds over the course of 11 weeks. Her sad tale of diet failure should be a lesson to us all.

Just to be clear, Miss Clowe did not starve to death. Rather, the local coroner said her most likely cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia, who added that clinical obesity increases the likelihood of cardiac death.

Beyond the fact that she died, there are several things wrong with this sort of dieting. First, 500 calories per day is low enough that the body thinks it is starving and goes into a calorie-hoarding self-preservation mode. She certainly could not have had enough energy to exercise. Anybody who finds they cannot lose weight except at these extreme calorie levels needs to see a physician to find out what is wrong with their metabolism.

Second, while pre-packaged food plans such as this have the simplicity of “eat what’s in the box and when it’s gone you’re done,” they do very little to teach the skills the dieters will need to eat healthy diets later. Without learning this, the dieter is doomed to return to the old ways of eating that made them fat in the first place.

Third, there is the problem of losing weight just for a special occasion, just to get into one special outfit, or impress on one particular day. Once that occasion is over, there is no motivation to keep the weight off. Goal accomplished, let’s have cake!

And finally, most experts agree that it just isn’t safe to lose weight too quickly. Slow and sustainable weight loss is not only better for you in the short run, you are more likely to keep the weight off. Most people don’t gain 5 or 10 pounds in a single week; it’s not realistic to think you can lose 5 or 10 pounds in a week either.

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