Weight Control

Why Crash Diets Crash

Related: Acupuncture for Weight Loss

woman with tape measure worried about weight
Sudden weight loss through crash dieting may result in devastating consequence

People lose weight for two reasons – to look better and feel healthier. But surprisingly, weight loss doesn’t necessarily lead to better health or appearance. Many times the opposite is true. Sudden weight loss through crash dieting may result in devastating consequences, such as:

  • Deteriorated posture
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Permanent stretch marks on skin
  • Dry, unhealthy looking skin
  • Body fluids imbalance
  • Deteriorated body composition (decreased lean body mass)

It is important to note that deteriorated body composition (balance of muscle, fat, fluids) slows down metabolism making it much more likely you will regain the lost weight, and find it far more challenging to lose weight in the future.

Other health-related complications from low calorie diets include amenorrhea (no menstruation), dysmenorrhoea (menstrual pain), anaemia, and infertility.

To avoid the ?yo-yo? cycle and metabolic slow down, it is important to focus on the amount of fat you lose rather than the amount of weight you lose.

Our Weight Control Program from the Pacific Wellness Institute is designed to help you:

  • Lose fat
  • Increase lean body mass
  • Improve your health
  • Improve your appearance

The program has been featured in Alternative Medicine Magazine, and published in the Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide: Weight Loss (see bottom of this page for more information).


Low Calorie Diets

3 Reasons Why You Lose A Lot More Than Just Weight

1. Self-deprivation is no fun

Many diets require you to sacrifice physical comfort, make you feel constantly hungry and emotionally deprive you by not allowing you to enjoy the foods you love. The result is often only temporary weight loss, as most of us soon resume our old eating and activity patterns.

2. Bodies weren?t meant to starve

When you go on a very low-calorie diet, your body thinks you are starving. It reacts by slowing down your metabolism and storing fat more efficiently. Even when you stop dieting, your metabolism remains slow. So, while you may be eating less than before, your slow and inefficient metabolism causes you to gain weight back even faster.

3. Many diets reduce caloric intake to dangerously low levels

A common misconception is that you lose weight when you consume fewer calories than you burn. But when you take in fewer calories than your body needs to survive, your body has to break down muscle tissue to provide the needed energy. The negative effects soon begin to snowball. When you eventually gain back the weight, it is all fat and not muscle, causing your metabolism to slow down even more. Now you have extra weight, a less healthy body composition, and a less attractive physique. Even diet and exercise plans that were once temporarily successful will no longer be effective.

Fact Or Fiction?

The Pacific Wellness Institute dispels some common myths about body fat to help set you on a course of greater fitness and health:

Myth #1: If you weigh more on the scale, you must be overweight. Muscle is lean body mass and weighs approximately 75 percent more than fat. So it is possible to increase your actual body weight without increasing or even decreasing your percentage of body fat.

Myth #2: Scales are the best way to determine if you are overweight and have too much body fat. A better way to measure body fat loss is to feel the difference in how your clothes fit. You may also get a better sense of whether you’re losing body fat by looking in the mirror with no clothes on.

What is Body Mass Index (BMI)?

Body Mass Index is a commonly used measure of healthy or unhealthy weight conditions. BMI is a better predictor of disease risk than body weight alone. However, certain people such as competitive athletes and body builders (whose BMI is high due to a larger amount of muscle tissue), and women who are pregnant or lactating, should not use BMI as the basis for estimating body fat content. BMI is also not intended for use for growing children or for frail and sedentary elderly individuals.

How is BMI Calculated?

BMI may be calculated as the weight in kilograms (weight in pounds divided by 2.2) divided by the square of the height in meters (inches multiplied by 0.0254). For example, an individual measuring six feet tall and weighing 176 pounds would have a BMI of 24. You can also utilize a BMI chart to obtain your BMI without calculation.

Click to see the Body Mass Index Comparison Chart

According to National Institute of Health (NIH) guidelines, people with a BMI of 25 or higher should be considered overweight. If your BMI is high, you may have an increased risk of developing certain diseases, including hypertension, cardiovascular disease and adult-onset (type II) diabetes. (See Table 1)

TABLE 1: BMI Risk Table

BMI Category : Health risk based solely on BMI

19 – 24 : Minimal
25 – 26 : Low
27 – 29 : Moderate
30 – 34 : High
35 – 39 : Very High
40+ : Extremely High


Weight Control Begins With BIA

At the Pacific Wellness Institute in Toronto, our acupuncturists use the latest technology to determine an accurate picture of your health, based on more than just general weight alone. Bio Impedance Analysis (BIA) is a measure of your body?s composition and reflects your overall health. BIA estimates the percentage of lean muscle tissue in your body and other essential biological markers of health.

Most diets measure success solely by the number of pounds lost. But unlike scale weight, BIA reveals the overall health of a person, as well as the proportion and amount of fat and lean tissue. It can be effectively used to indicate how much muscle and fat is being lost or gained as a result of physical or dietary changes.

Uncover your Composition – BIA Assessment Service

One of the most convenient and reliable ways to determine body composition is with Bio Impedance Analysis (BIA). Our research grade BIA equipment is used regularly by major hospitals and university facilities. It provides an accurate estimation of fat and lean mass percentage, as well as other important bio-markers of health.

The BIA Procedure ? Fast and Simple

The BIA procedure is a simple, non-invasive test, completed in just a few minutes. An electrode is attached to the surface of your hand and foot, and patients do not feel a thing.

Optimize Your Weight Loss with Phase Angle

Technology used by the Pacific Wellness Institute also produces an important bio-marker called the Phase Angle. An individual’s phase angle reflects the condition of their cell membranes and often corresponds with the overall status of their health. Recent studies indicate that phase angle can be an extremely reliable prognostic parameter – even more reliable than measuring the immune system’s CD 4 cell count for HIV-Infected individuals.

As part of the Pacific Wellness Clinic?s Weight Control Program, they observe patients? phase angle closely to ensure they are losing weight properly without jeopardizing their health. Our weight control program is designed to decrease weight but also to improve the overall state of health. As a result of the program, many patients report significant health improvements such as increased energy and decreased anxiety.

Important Note:

You may have noticed body fat measuring machines in your local pharmacy or fitness club. Please keep in mind that those machines, particularly the ones that measure like a weight scale or require you to grip the metal handles, are NOT accurate and reliable. These devices measure only upper or lower body composition and that is not a true reflection of your body composition. Additionally, there will be several important pre-test preparations that must be taken for accurate and meaningful measurements. The Pacific Wellness Institute’s system is research quality and is used and trusted by a number of major research centres and hospitals.


The remarkable success story of one of the Pacific Wellness Institute’s Weight Control patients who used our acupuncture therapy is featured in a newly published book in the USA, entitled WEIGHT LOSS: 17 Smart Ways to Permanently Shed Unwanted Pounds. (Alternative Medicine.com Books, Tiburon, California, 2000.)


Hand2Acupuncture & Weight Loss


Many of us who diet get caught in a ?yo-yo? cycle that begins with low self-acceptance. We lack trust in our body and rarely listen to our body’s signals of hunger and fullness. Ignoring our vital signs of appetite and hunger puts us under tremendous emotional and physical stress. Many people feel weak due to the decrease in calorie intake. Many people find that with acupuncture, modifications of diets and eating habits are no longer a challenge and energy is increased.

Potential Benefits of Acupuncture for weight control are:

  • Increased energy
  • Decreased psychological symptoms such as irritability
  • Suppression of appetite and cravings
  • Balance of autonomic system (has a positive effect on psychological and physiological state)
  • Support of detoxification process during the fat burning state (most toxic substances are deposited in the fat tissue)

Ear Acupuncture is an effective way to naturally suppress the appetite
Tim H. Tanaka, Ph.D.


There are two brain areas closely connected to our eating habits. The first area, which is called the feeding center (lateral hypothalamus), is responsible for the feeling of hunger. The other area is called the satiety center (hypothalamic ventromedial nucleus) and is responsible for the feeling of fullness. Both the feeding and satiety centers are vital sensory systems that are necessary for human survival. However, the systems sometimes become oversensitive or inactive which then causes problems. For example, if the feeding center is overactive, you may always feel hungry; conversely, if the satiety center is under active, you may not feel full so easily.

Theoretically then, if we could possibly change the parameters of these two vital sensory systems similar to the way we adjust the thermostat of a refrigerator, we would not feel overly hungry and would feel full very easily, leading to weight reduction. There is no existing surgical or pharmaceutical intervention that is not accompanied by serious risks or side effects; however, we can stimulate these sensory systems in the brain with acupuncture. The most frequently utilized points are located on the ear. Reported effects of ear acupuncture include a decrease in appetite, feeling satiated sooner after eating, reduction of cravings (for sweets, fat, alcohol etc.), and decreased irritability. The needles are not applied directly into these brain areas but rather corresponding to points on the ears. There are over 200 such reflex acupuncture points on the ear, each corresponding with a different part of the body.

Japanese studies conducted with animals indicated that stimulation of certain points on the animal?s inner auricular region, corresponding to the human pylorus, lung, trachea, stomach, esophagus, endocrine, and heart, resulted in evoked electric potentials in the brain?s feeding centre (hypothalamic ventromedial nucleus). Needle insertion into any of these points reduced body weight significantly within 14 days.