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Learning From Celebrity Dieting in the News

No matter how you make your living, there are numerous physiological reasons why dieting fails that all boil down to one fundamental fact: The human brain is programmed for survival ...
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Sarah Ferguson, Jason Alexander, Dan Marino, Carrie Fisher, Valerie Bertinelli, Jennifer Hudson, Marie Osmond, Carnie Wilson, and of course Kirstie Alley have all endorsed diet products. Recently The New York Times took notice of how many celebrities have lost weight using various weight loss products. Unfortunately for the shareholders behind those products, many celebrities end up regaining the weight they've lost -- and more. Carrie Fisher was quoted in the article saying, "It's really important to recognize that it's just as hard for a celebrity as it would be for any other person losing weight."

No matter how you make your living, there are numerous physiological reasons why dieting fails that all boil down to one fundamental fact: The human brain is programmed for survival and is exquisitely sensitive to any factors that may lead to death.

The brain is attuned to every single metabolic process within our bodies. Metabolism is essentially divided into two functions: breaking down and rebuilding. Our bodies are made up of dynamic tissues that are constantly disposed of and replaced. The breaking-down process clears out the old cellular material and then building supplies are brought in and the rebuilding process begins. Your brain oversees all of this.

Have you ever done any kind of construction in your life? Remolded a bathroom or kitchen, put in a pool, maybe even built a house? And have you had experiences with builders where wished you knew Tony Soprano personally? Imagine that your brain is standing around every day in utter frustration thinking, Where are my building supplies? What am I going to use to repair cells, to make neurotransmitters and hormones; to build bone? Just like you wouldn't live in a house for 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 or more years without maintaining that house, your body needs building supplies for maintenance and the ongoing remodeling.

If you are dieting, your body is using up body fat as energy. Meanwhile, the constant remodeling, rebuilding and replenishing is still going on, despite the shortage of building supplies. At first your brain will signal your adrenals to release stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol to break down lean muscle mass (bones and muscle). When this cannibalization becomes too extreme your brain will signal your thyroid to slow down to save you from dying during this time of famine. At the same time, your brain -- thinking ahead -- will signal your pancreas to regulate the release of insulin (the nutrition-storing hormone) so that more incoming food will be stored as fat as an insurance policy against the next famine.

Whether you're a celebrity or not, dieting results in priming your body physiologically to be a more efficient fat-storing machine. But as they say on TV, "That's not all!" because here's where the brain jumps in to help even more.

The most definitive study on starvation was conducted in the mid-1940s for the War Department at the University of Minnesota, and the results published in 1950 in a 1,385 page book called "The Biology of Human Starvation." The study was intended to help starvation victims in wartorn Europe.

Forty 20- to 33-year old men ate 1,570 calories a day for six months to lose 2.5 pounds a week or 25 percent of their body weight. When the three-month nutritional rehabilitation began, the men demonstrated all the symptoms of malnutrition such as feeling cold, tired, hungry, having difficulty concentrating, insomnia, thinning hair, dry skin, gastrointestinal problems and a lack of interest in sex. What stunned researchers is that even when given unrestricted amounts of food, the men suffered from what was termed "starvation neurosis": The volunteers were agitated and nervous, withdrawn, impatient, self-critical with distorted body images along with extremely aberrant eating behaviors. These included voracious appetites, gorging, lack of control and distress over eating, cravings and obsession with food, secrecy and defensiveness over food, preoccupation with body image and more.

And these men were starving on real food. If you want to compound the physiological and psychological effects of starvation, eat packaged diet foods. Factory-produced food is not recognized by your body as nutritious. You may shrink down on packaged diet products, but these dead foods are creating "code red emergency time" inside your body and brain, and setting you up for more weight gain.

Can you ever have that beautiful body you're dreaming about? Yes, most definitely. On a healthy diet, within nine months the majority of the volunteers in the Minnesota semi-starvation study regained normal eating and emotional patterns, as well as their previous (ideal) body weight and thyroid function. On a diet of real, whole foods, cravings, binging and all the aberrant behaviors of unnatural hunger can be stopped.

To achieve your optimal body weight you need to stop dieting. Forget instant weight loss results. Those are empty promises made by corporations that want to keep you dieting forever. Instead you need to imagine your optimal health and body weight one year from now -- and the rest of your life. Healing from famine (factory food, dieting) takes time. But while you're achieving your optimal health, you won't be suffering.

Next, stop eating all factory-produced food. Your body needs to receive the biochemicals it is made out of from fresh and natural food sources every day. Eat a balanced diet of real, whole, living food. Real food is anything that could picked, gathered, milked, hunted or fished, that is grown or raised in a clean environment and that has not had any "science-fiction processing" done to it.