The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - HEALTH -

our body has a ‘set point’ when it comes to weight. This is the weight that your body con­sid­ers nor­mal, and it will strive to re­turn to it when you diet. That’s why di­et­ing is so stress­ful on the body – it can slow your me­tab­o­lism and the way your ap­petite hor­mones work as your body re­peat­edly fights its way back to its set point.

A slower me­tab­o­lism means you burn less en­ergy at rest, which in turn means your body has to work harder to burn food. Cou­pled with this are ap­petite hor­mones that don’t switch off re­gard­less of how much weight has been re­gained – your brain keeps be­ing told to eat more. Be­cause of these is­sues, it’s im­por­tant to have what I call a ‘wash-out’ pe­riod to re­turn to your set point be­fore em­bark­ing on a sus­tain­able weight-loss plan. If you’ve re­cently fin­ished a diet and weigh less than your set point, you will need to gain weight by eat­ing nour­ish­ing food and re­main at this set point for about a month be­fore be­gin­ning my In­ter­val Weight Loss pro­gram [ see box for tips].

I’m not go­ing to sugar-coat it – it could take months, depend­ing on how much weight you lost and how dras­tic a mea­sure you took to lose it. But the good news is you will be al­low­ing your body to re­cover from the stress im­posed on it. All too of­ten clients tell me they are avoid­ing par­tic­u­lar foods and putting as­pects of what they re­fer to as a ‘low­carb’ diet into place when I first see them. They fear pasta and grains, be­liev­ing they cause weight gain. Many of them are also un­der the im­pres­sion that some fruits are ‘fat­ten­ing’, as they have been told or read that they are high in sugar. Of course, all

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