Friday, January 4, 2019


Adaptation, diet and what I’ve done with desserts
Adaptation, in terms of our physical being, means that our cells and systems react and change according to the stresses or lack of stress to our body. Why is this important to know? It is the basic way to describe the changes that happen in our body through diet and exercise. Physical adaptation is what personal training is based on. When it comes to diets, understanding how our bodies adapt to things like limiting calories or high intensity workouts help with developing a plan and goals.
The body is meant to move and adapts well to movement. A personal trainer can keep you on the safe and right track to reach your goals. If weight loss is part of your goal, that’s where a nutritionist can be invaluable because following fad diets on a whim can do more harm than good. 
Its common knowledge that calorie deficit is the way to lose weight and is fairly straight forward. What is now becoming more well known, based on years of weight loss studies, is how our metabolic system adapts to sudden and drastic changes in caloric intake.
We now know that when the body does not get its “normal” calorie intake, the metabolic system slows down and stores energy more readily to make the most of what it is given. This adaptation creates the diet cycle so many millions of people struggle with. Reduce calories - Drop weight quickly - Back to real life - Regain more weight.
We know this, yet a billion-dollar diet industry still exists based on deprivation. Crazy right!?
So, what do we do with this information? When you are planning for weight loss, seeing a dietitian is a good place to start. If a plan is developed to cut your calories drastically, find another dietitian. It may not be what you want to hear, but just like exercise, manageable, long term changes are what will make the difference.
 Now, there are conflicting thoughts about how much impact exercise has on weight loss. Studies have shown both results where exercise alone can induce weight loss as well results where it may not significantly reduce weight. Just know that in either scenario there were benefits to exercise. What is interesting is in one study, it’s the small changes made that made the biggest difference when it came to measuring the difference between those who gained and lost weight and those who did not.
So how can we apply small changes that will make a big difference?
It’s finding the small changes that work for you. For me, I love desserts. If it looks anything like a cookie or chocolate, then my impulse is to eat it. Now, what is manageable for me is, I’ve set parameters I can live with. It must be fresh, I am now willing to share and I do my best to savour a delicious dessert. If it has an ingredients list, I read it. I avoid buying things with artificial flavours, so that already limits what I put in the grocery cart and a lot of desserts on the buffet table.
As well, if it’s not delicious, I no longer feel guilty for wasting what is supposed to be a good treat and I leave it. When I savour the flavour, it means eating slow and really appreciating what I am eating. That way, I have time to realize if it is worth it or not. If it’s not something I really enjoy, I stop eating. Plus, I don’t need a scientific study to tell me that too much of a good thing will leave me feeling gross.
Those few basic parameters haven’t taken away my opportunities to indulge, but it allows me to filter and check my impulses. It has made a pretty big impact on how I react to my cravings. It is also something I can live with on a long-term basis.
It’s no longer about will power, and the ups and downs of deprivation and binging because either way, our body makes adaptations. It’s enjoying the cake one slice at a time instead of eating as much of it as possible in one sitting (yes, I’ve done that).
*If you are dealing with diabetes, high blood pressure, or other dietary restriction there may be some drastic dietary changes required and this personal opinion does not address those situations.


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