I have helped a lot of people lose weight, and I usually suggest that slow and steady weight loss such as 1-2lb’s a week is sustainable weight loss, however there are some people that are just too impatient or who want dramatic results in order to get in shape for a wedding or to look good on holiday. These people may be the ones who would go on a juice fast, crash diet for 2 weeks, or try the master cleanse (the maple syrup diet). These diets may work whilst you are on them, but I do not believe they are a healthy or sustainable ways to lose weight.
Most of the time as soon as you stop the diet you put the weight back on with a little more to boot. This happens because these diets really screw up your hormones and metabolism. When you go in to a state of famine (dieting) your body reacts by up regulating your lipogenic (fat storing) enzymes, your thyroid slows down reducing your metabolism, and you start to produce more stress hormones. Your detoxification also slows down as your liver needs a whole host of vitamins, minerals and amino acids (the breakdown products of protein) to clean your body and eliminate toxins through the bowel and bladder.
Fasting is a bad idea as you do not get any amino acids (as you are not eating). This makes you breakdown your own muscle tissue (which is made of protein) to be sent to your liver so it can work properly, and to your immune system to keep you healthy. This is the worst thing you can do, as muscle is your metabolic tissue – the more muscle you have the more fuel you will burn at rest, and the more insulin sensitive you will be. Some of the weight loss you experience from fasting is not fat loss, it’s muscle loss!! Nor do you get any vitamins, minerals, fibre or essential fats whilst fasting.
Juice fasting is also a bad idea – juice does not contain proteins it just contains water, some vitamins and sugar. By taking in sugar without fibre, protein and healthy fats your blood sugar will go all over the place raising your insulin and cortisol and lead to fat deposition around your waistline.
Recently I came across a system that really does work to help you quickly and safely lose weight. Initially developed by Bob Rakowski and adapted by Charles Poliquin – the nutritional cleanse helps you lose weight quickly but also covers all your nutritional needs. The nutritional cleanse is more of a detox than a weight loss plan, but as Rakowski explains – people get fat because they are either:
• Stressed – stress raises cortisol and other inflammatory chemicals in your body that cause fat accumulation around the middle.
• Malnourished – I do not mean those starving babies you see in Africa – but people who eat food that has very little nutrition in it such as processed food, fast food, junk foods and most modern foods such as white bread, sugar, pasteurised dairy and products made from white flour.
• Toxic – the more toxic you are the more fat you accumulate. This happens because your body stores the toxins in the fat to keep them out of circulation and away from major organs.
• Lazy – too little exercise just means you become de-conditioned and accumulate body fat.
The purpose of a cleanse is to rest the gastrointestinal system, pancreas and adrenals and to up regulate the liberation of free fatty acids to be burnt as fuel and to really support the liver to detoxify toxins. For practitioners who want to learn the fundamentals of a nutritional cleanse you should complete a BioSignature course with Charles Poliquin (see www.charlespoliquin.com).
Stay tunned for part 2 of this article…