Ok, this one is the Nirvana of all diet gurus and authors. Some of them would have us believe that if you follow a well-constructed fat burning diet, then our bodies will dispose of the stuff without us even moving a muscle to help. It would be heaven, wouldn’t it? Sitting there in front of the television in the knowledge that when the movie is over, we will be a couple of pounds lighter! Well, I’ve got news for you, ladies and gentlemen, it isn’t going to happen.
These so-called diet experts might sell a lot of books and DVDs off the back of this empty promise, but let me tell you right now, they are selling you snake oil, and I’ll let you know why. A diet without exercise will see your body’s metabolism gradually slow down, and if you have read myths 1 to 4, you will know that this is not a good thing. If you want to lose fat, then you need to keep your metabolism high so that your body will use up its excess fat as fuel. A slow metabolism promotes the storage of fat and the breakdown of lean muscle fiber. That is precisely the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. If you set yourself up with an exercise program suitable and structured just for you, then your muscles will thank you because you will be enabling them to hang on to that all-important lean muscle fiber. We have mentioned before that muscle is nutritionally expensive. That means that the more muscle you have, then the quicker you will use up those calories.
So, in other words, if you reduce your calorie intake too much without exercising, you will gradually waste away your muscle. Don’t forget that this almost becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, too, because the less muscle you have, the less your body will be able to burn up the calories. Consequently, the opposite is also true. If you stick to a healthy fitness program at the same time as a healthy fat burning diet, you will maintain your lean muscle fiber, and this, in turn, will help you burn up and lose the fat.
There’s another thing too, and we have visited this in the earlier myths as well. A prolonged, significant reduction in calorie intake triggers the body’s defense mechanisms, one of which is a desire not to starve. Your metabolism slows down, leading to the storage of more fat and the break down of lean muscle mass.
So, what should you be doing? Well, you should reduce your calorie intake to just below that which is needed to maintain your weight. Add into the mix a healthy, structured exercise program, and you will healthily lose fat. If you do it this way, then you will use up extra calories, but you will also promote the maintenance of your body’s lean muscle tissue, which will help you lose fat quicker.
Remember to include both resistance exercise as well as cardio exercise to get that all-around fat burning, muscle-maintaining effect.
This is “Myth #5″ in our “8 Myths of weight loss” series. To read the previous Myths, click on the following links –