Weight Loss Dieting

The Popular Presentation of Weight Loss

Weight Loss Dieting Magazine Cover

I saw this magazine as I was waiting in the checkout line at the local grocery store. This fitness magazine is for women, and this seems to fit the content norms that I am accustomed to seeing. There is a model saturated in make-up on the cover. I can’t see the name of the magazine since the adequate amounts of hair product are maximizing hair volume to cover the letters. Weight-loss is the main theme as usual. There are processed food treats (upper left corner) to entice the reader to eat low-calorie junk food and read the magazine content. There are at least 4 miraculous well-being cures (in this case tiredness and stress are solved, and beauty and inexpensive supplements will resolve many health concerns). For me, the most ridiculous part of the magazine was the ‘Drop 19 lbs in 10 Days’ promo in the bottom right corner.

I am sure that a few of the natural remedy ideas do have some merit. Many natural foods do indeed support health. Maybe the tiredness and stress resolutions also have some credibility. Maybe they are referring to dropping 19 pounds of water into a water basin over a period of 10 days. I hope that is the case because promoting a weight loss plan where 19 lbs of fat is lost in a period of 10 days is pure and complete ignorance.

The Mathematics of Weight Loss

One pound of fat stored in the body is equivalent to approximately 3500 calories of energy. In order to actually lose 19 pounds of fat you would have to metabolize 66,500 calories of energy. The magazine said we could do it, so let’s do some math.

Approximately 100 calories are burned for each mile that is run. Over a 10 day period you would need to run 665 miles, 66.5 miles per day. If you can run 66.5 miles per day for 10 consecutive days, you probably have goals more along the lines of shattering world records or maybe marketing your superhuman qualities to save the world. I am not a huge fan of distance running, but the weightlifting, swimming, or biking equivalents would also be impossible.

The Negative Impact of Extreme Diets

In my previous breakdown I did insert the word ‘fat’ into the weightless scheme. The magazine cover didn’t say fat, so we can assume that their scheme probably has some water weight loss built-in. Losing water weight is rarely a healthy practice. The scale may read slightly lower and you may look thinner for a short period of time, but it is crucial to stay adequately hydrated. The magazine may have made an argument against adequate hydration under the junk food promo, but I can only tackle one issue at a time.

Another consideration is the likelihood of the loss of muscle mass. If enough calories are cut from the diet, the body quickly resorts to a convenient fuel source, muscle tissue. Even without adequate caloric intake, your muscles still require fuel to move your body. During times of inadequate caloric intake, this energy source often comes from your muscle tissues. On a side note, studies have shown that adequate protein intake and weight training is best method for maintaining muscle mass while burning stored fat.

In conclusion, losing 19 pounds of weight in 10 days is not a healthy goal. This would require extreme caloric deficits, lost muscle mass, lost water weight, and some burned fat. The most concerning issue is the decrease in your metabolic rates. Let’s take a moment to explore what this means.

Decreased metabolic rates mean that your body is aware that your food intake will be less than what is needed. Crucial internal functions will slow down. Your GI tract will not process food as quickly. At the same time your body will become much more aggressive when selecting food to store for later. If there is ever an abundance of carbohydrates available, as much as possible will be stored as fat. That is the great mystery of dieting. That is why the person who posts a Facebook story about losing 20 pounds on their favorite diet plan will quickly recover their losses (and that post probably won’t be created for you to see).

A Realistic Health Perspective

If you are exploring some weight loss options, initial goals should include building muscle mass in order to support your mind and body through the weight loss process. Once you have synchronized your muscles with an exercise routine, your body will begin using stored energy within your fat tissues to achieve your exercise demands. As long as you focus on optimizing your health rather than demanding lower weight scale numbers, your body will re-synchronize with a more healthy infrastructure and eventually display the physical potentials which you have built within your body.

*Check out the shortened version published by the Carmel Current!

Please let me know if you would like me to expand on any of these topics!

Daniel Miller
With experience in the different fields of chemistry and psychology, I hope to share some thought provoking personal well-being topics related to physical health, psychology, rational thought, and spirituality.