South Beach Diet - Water weight loss explained & Training the muscles to consume fat

a broad abroad
02-13-2005, 10:12 AM
I saw a interesting, short docudrama on British television's Channel 4 yesterday called Body Story: Fat Attack. It provided a good explanation about why we lose water weight when beginning a "diet". It went on to also provide a simple, concise description of why regular exercise is vital to getting rid of extra fat stores. Below, I've included the related excerpts. For more on the show visit:

The simplest way to lose weight is to go on a diet or so we are led to believe. It seems to make sense: eat less, have less fat. And it does make sense up to a point.

Our bodies need energy to keep them going. They can get this energy, which is measured in calories and kilocalories, from food. If they do not get it from food, they will seek alternative sources, such as fat supplies. So if you limit your calorie intake, your body will start to use up its excess fat.

But there's a problem.

Diet and hunger
Unfortunately, as far as your body is concerned, going on a diet is equivalent to facing a famine. Deprived of food, the body tries to conserve fat in preparation for hard times ahead. Instead of using up fat reserves to supply energy, it consumes short-term reserves of glucose, most of which are stored in the liver. But glucose molecules produce only half the energy that fat molecules produce, so the body craves more fuel.

However, hunger apart, for the dieter the early signs are good. Weight is being lost. The snag is that it's not fat that's being shed, it's water. The short-term glucose reserves being consumed are stored within large quantities of water, and as the glucose is used up, the water is released as urine. In the early days of dieting, the body loses an extra litre of water each day. It's only when the glucose reserves have run dry that fat begins to be burned.

Crisis conditions
But even then, fat reserves are not sacrificed without a struggle. As fat cells are released into the bloodstream, they send a warning signal to the brain. The brain reacts by further increasing the body's appetite for fuel. The dieter feels ravenous.

Meanwhile, the brain imposes an energy cut. Mitochondria inside the cells burn less fuel in an attempt to conserve energy, and the dieter feels increasingly tired.

He or she will also feel dispirited. Since fat is considerably lighter than water, the rapid weight loss of the first few days of the diet does not continue. In fact, whereas losing 3kg of water will take around four days, losing the equivalent weight in fat will take about a month.

So, hungry, tired and downcast, many dieters crack and binge. Within no time at all, their fat and glucose stores are refilled. Their bodies retain water in which to store glucose and the pounds pile back on. They're back where they started.
Sadly, there are no miracle cures when it comes to getting rid of fat, unless you count liposuction, which is expensive and may leave scarring. To win the war on fat, the body has to put in the hours. Hours on the treadmill, cycling round the park, or doing Ashtanga yoga in an overheated room.

Exercise works as a weight-shedding tool because the person who wishes to lose fat will be working with, rather than against, his or her brain and body.

Someone who has not done any physical exercise for a long time has allowed their muscles to lapse into disuse. The blood supply to the muscle fibres has withered. As soon as the muscles are used again, they demand energy. But because of the poor blood supply, very little fat can be delivered to the muscles through the bloodstream. Instead, the body uses up fast-burning glucose stores located within the muscle cells.

Training the muscles to consume fat
Vigorous exercise, however, demands more energy than can be provided just by burning glucose. So once the body is again at rest, it will start to prepare itself for the next bout of exercise, ensuring that, the next time, it will be better equipped to cope with the energy the muscles demand. New blood vessels grow within the muscle fibre, ensuring that greater quantities of fat, which is so rich in energy, can be delivered to the muscles through the bloodstream. Within the muscle cells themselves, mitochondria divide, doubling the energy that they will be able to generate.

If regular and vigorous exercise continues, the body will gradually start to give up its fat stores. The exerciser will need to raise his or her heart rate to around 60-80% of its theoretical maximum for about 40 minutes, at least three or four times a week, in order to make a real impact on fat reserves.

A virtuous circle
Unlike in a dieting situation, the body does not try to protect its fat reserves as a result of exercise, since it is still getting its normal intake of fuel through food. Eventually, fat will be moved to areas where it is most needed: mini-stockpiles will be created within the muscles. It will no longer just sit, uselessly, around the stomach and hips.

Meanwhile, the muscles become increasingly efficient. They are able to deliver fat more quickly and in greater quantities, which in turn means that the body has more energy, so that longer periods of exercise become possible. The exerciser is caught in a virtuous circle.

02-13-2005, 10:58 AM
Thanks abroad! Good info!

02-13-2005, 11:08 AM
Good stuff and very timely for me! I was about to whine.

beach bum
02-13-2005, 03:40 PM
Thanks (((a board )))for this useful information. Thanks BB

02-13-2005, 07:56 PM
Great article to post!

I am eating well - but really lacking in the exercise department... I went out and hired a treadmill today which should be delivered this afternoon... time to move that butt!

02-13-2005, 08:18 PM
Exercise rocks! :) Great article. Thanks for posting it :)

02-14-2005, 08:53 AM
Thanks for such a good article. I was wondering why I had stalled - although inside I kind of knew what I had to do - so this makes it undeniable. I need to amp up the exercise. Thanks!

02-14-2005, 11:51 AM
A broad, this is great info, and much of it is stuff I have never read before! Thank you!!! :love:

02-17-2005, 09:03 AM
Very interesting, I know that I definatley need to move around ALOT more now...although I do look forward to the water weight loss right now, its a start in the right direction :)