Ester Marsh: Losing weight requires more than diet change

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 19, 2011

Q. I lost my belly fat but as soon as I got off my diet it all came back, any suggestions?
A. First of all, I don’t like “diets” because they have a beginning and an end, and in most cases the end does not come soon enough.
Robin Fisher, a registered dietitian who works at our Y says there are so many diets out there because none of them work. I like that statement because it is true.
When I speak for groups in the community and ask who has lost weight before, most hands will go up. The craziest diets are out there: No this or no that, lots of this and none of that.
And how about the diets where you only eat 400-500 calories? Your body can’t survive on those kinds of calories.
Typically, an average female needs a minimum of about 1,500 calories a day and an average male about 2,000 calories.
Of course it all depends on age, weight, activity level and so on, but I can tell you this; 400 or 500 calories is not enough.
Even when you are able to stick to this diet and you lose weight, you eventually have to come back to the real world. Losing weight is doable, being on a diet is workable, but keeping it off is the hardest thing to do, as you already have found out.
I know when the results are quick and noticeable soon it makes it easier to stay on whatever diet you are on but eventually real life will kick in again.
When you lose weight your fat cells shrink. You can’t get rid of them unless you have liposuction. (That is a whole other column.) And when you get off that diet you are on, those fat cells are waiting to fill up again.
And on top of that, you can make more fat cells your whole life. Sound familiar?
Lose the weight, gain it back and more?
Oh, it’s a vicious circle.
My advice to lose that belly fat again is to continue to exercise and change your eating lifestyle.
That belly fat/weight will not come off as fast as before, but when you are losing it at 1 to 2 pounds a week your chance of keeping it off will be much greater.
When you are really having a hard time eating sensible, Weight Watchers is my favorite weight-loss program.
They will teach you sensible eating habits. I hope you will be able to take your belly fat off again and this time, keep it off.
Ester H Marsh, ACSM Cpt