What Does Being Fit Really Mean? (Part 2)
Two weeks ago Gilad responded to this same question by outlining the 5 components of fitness. (Read it HERE!) Today he explains how the body reacts to weight loss by diet only.
Question: I recently reached my goal of losing 35 pounds by altering my eating habits and counting calories. I didn't even have to exercise and I feel pretty good. Does this qualify as being fit?
Answer: Another important point to understand about dieting for weight loss is that if you lose weight that way once, and then, at a later date, try the same technique again, it will be much harder to do the 2nd time. Why? Simply because you've trained your body to react to what it perceives as 'starvation,' a decrease in the number of calories it gets each day. Our very clever bodies don't like that. They respond by activating their 'starvation response'. Your metabolic rate goes down and consequently requires less food. In this mode, your body will store anything it can as fat. So by repeatedly following low calorie diets you are teaching your body how to better store food as fat.
What you want to do instead is alter your fat to muscle ratio so you get more active muscle tissue busily burning calories. Muscle tissue, unlike fat, actually burns calories while at rest. This means that increased muscle mass raises your metabolic rate so you can become a lean, mean fat-burning machine instead of a fat-storing body that is expecting to be starved.