Friday, July 27, 2012

Six Weeks to OMG : Fact or Fiction?
   By Bob Wells, CPT, PES

The list is long and distinguished, from Atkins to the Zone, of diet authors and their acolytes claiming that their singular regimen can melt away unwanted fat, to reveal our inner god or goddess. Such claims have become our new national pastime, much like baseball did in the late 19th century.

Courtesy : Paul Khanna
So, it is no surprise that the latest new diet, proposed by celebrity trainer Paul Khanna, right, makes similar claims. Khanna, who writes under the pseudonym Venice A. Fulton, posits that in just six short weeks, you can elicit OMG responses, and get skinnier than all of your friends. (Note for the over 15 crowd: OMG is short for Oh my God)

Despite Fulton’s unorthodox methods, legions of dieters have been rushing to begin his program. They willingly subject themselves to the ridicule and scorn that come from…”waking up to an ice cold bath, skipping breakfast, drinking coffee before exercising, limiting your fruit and broccoli intake, sticking to three meals a day without snacking, and, most peculiar of all, obsessively blowing up balloons to help flatten your transversus muscle.”

Fulton believes that “long gaps between unconventional meal times — lunch, mid afternoon and early evening, together with a stringent ban on grazing, further encourage your body your body to burn existing fat for energy.”

Once you get past the preconceptions about these radical ideas, Khanna may actually be onto something, according to Maria Pagano, RD. Pagana, a Tier 4 coach at Equinox, explains that “blowing up a balloon, for instance, can help with diaphramic breathing.” Proper breathing is a prerequisite to any exercise program, since it is vital to maintain the ability to correctly activate the fascia surrounding the diaphragm.

Skipping breakfast, part of the practice of intermittent fasting, has been shown to work in preliminary studies. However, an extended period of fasting will cause the body to enter “starvation mode”, slowing down metabolism, and promoting greater fat storage.

While some of Fulton’s theories are backed by scientific research, his program faces stiff opposition from many in the scientific community. Dr. Carol Cooper, argues against skipping breakfast. You may feel slim after skipping breakfast, but metabolically you are potentially creating tremendous damage. Prolonged fasting can lead to ketoacidosis, since the body can’t get enough fuel.

Courtesy : Deanne Jade
Deanne Jade, left, founder of the National Centre for Eating Disorders in London, acknowledges that there will be an initial weight loss. However, she posits that all of the weight lost will simply return. The psychological harm that can result because of the weight gain is often manifested in the development of eating disorders.

According to the CDC, young women are more susceptible to developing eating disorders, a market that Fulton targets, according to Jade. “ [Fulton] is buying into a particular kind of culture [that] will attract younger women”. She is saddened that these women will likely be her patients in the future.

Dade further reports that “liver damage and even liver cancer are also associated with people who have very chaotic and disruptive patterns of eating”, such as the one advocated by Fulton.

By now it should be readily apparent that you can lose weight, at least temporarily, by following Fulton’s methods. While this may be desirable, you should consider that there are very real problems--physical and psychological-- that can arise from adhering to his “diet”. There are the slowed metabolic rates, the risk of developing eating disorders, and risks of certain ailments and diseases that can be fatal.

The last thing you should consider, before you decide to embark upon Fulton’s diet is this:

Is it worth it?

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