One of the worst and most common practices for people trying to lose weight is to go to a low calorie and low fat diet. A diet like either of these two is usually ineffective and may actually be harmful as well.
The body responds to a low calorie intake by switching to hibernation mode. We have a built-in survival response to starvation style dieting and if you chose to eat (or not eat) in a lower calorie fashion, then your body will just burn fewer calories in reaction to being fed less calories.
Interestingly, the slowed metabolic rate response does not immediately go away when a higher caloric diet is introduced and this is so weight can be regained quickly after being on the starvation plan.
Many, many people end up on this see saw of weight loss and weight gain and often a lot of the mass flux is more due to changes in lean muscle than fat loss. In fact, with each new cycle, fat is lost more slowly and then regained more quickly.
When we go to a very low calorie diet a substantial amount of the lost weight ends up being lean muscle tissue. Exercise will reduce or even halt lean tissue loss. A combination of exercise and intelligent, healthy eating is the best way to significantly alter body composition and not put you at risk for other health issues. Osteoporosis and low calorie diets are linked. The relationship is only guessed at now, but prudence would dictate that a moderate diet and solid exercise program is a better approach.
If you need or want to change your body composition, then the American Dietetic Association advises that you eat no fewer than ten calories per pound. A two hundred pound person would need to eat at least two thousand calories then.
Successful weight loss is usually gradual weight loss as well. If you decide to make body changes and you decide to cut back on your calories, then please make sure you exercising too. If you chose healthy foods in moderation and an exercise plan that will keep you interested and motivated you have a great chance of losing fat and keeping it off. For many people, exercise often proves to be enough to shed unwanted fat.
Remember that you are unique and you shouldn’t need to compare yourself to others. Accept yourself as you are and if you decide you want to make changes and you are able to make them, great! If the change proves more difficult you can still lead a life free of body obsession.