I bet that seems like an odd subject line?
Surely the point of a ‘diet’ is to lose weight, right?
Well, yes it is, and they work, don’t get me wrong.
The problem lies where the diet ends.
Not only because we go back to ‘eating normally’ after the ‘diet’ is over (because if eating normally worked so well there would have been no need to diet).
The other issue lies in the potential damage to the body’s metabolism caused by aforementioned diet.
Now some of you out there may have heard about the buzz term: ‘metabolic damage’.
I’m not gonna go all “bro-science” on you and say that every diet out there causes this, as it doesn’t.
However, the body loves ‘balance’, or in science terms, homeostasis.
So when a change occurs, the body will do it’s best to regain balance.
If this change is drastic, the body will fight back aggressively to restore balance.
So take the typical ‘diet’ out there: very low calorie, but filled with nutritious foods.
Well, because the drop in calories is SO low, the body’s natural metabolic rate starts to decrease rapidly as well, to match the body’s lowering body fat levels, and the lower calorie intake.
This will lead to a point where weight loss will no longer occur, as the metabolism has dropped so low to stop the low calorie intake from working.
This is where people often go back to ‘eating normally’.
This means that calorie intake shoots back up.
The metabolism is still super low thanks to the first diet phase.
So what happens?
Body fat levels soar back up, and quickly too, because the calorie intake is so high compared to the tiny metabolism.
This will usually cause the individual to start the diet cycle again, however, the metabolism is only slightly higher than from the end of the first diet, so weight loss will be harder this time around.
So what can we do about it?
The way to lose weight is by creating a caloric deficit (burning more calories than those coming in)
The most effective way to do this is through a combination of cutting calories, and adding exercise.
If you can cut the least amount of calories possible to create an energy deficit, this will cause more sustainable weight loss, and far less metabolic damage in the long run.
Here’s what you need to do.
Track your intake over a week (this may seem laborious, but with an app like MyFitnessPal, it’s never been easier)
Track your weight at the start and end of the week.
If you lost, gained, or maintained weight, you can see whether your average daily calorie intake was too low, too high, or just right to maintain your current weight.
Take 300-500 calories away from your daily average if you maintained weight, and add in 1 exercise session extra.
This will be enough to create a deficit for fat loss.
When this starts to stagnate, rather than lowering your calories again, increase your exercise sessions again, and give yourself an extra 100 or so calories.
This may seem counter intuitive.
However, this will help you head back toward maintenance and give you the energy for that extra session.
Meaning that you can cut calories slightly again further down the line to no metabolic damage.
If you get stuck or confused, consider working with us.
We have two different plans that are suitable for anyone’s goal. They include:
- weekly support and accountability
- practical advice to make real change
- facebook support groups with people on the same journey as you
- And much more.
Visit www.nextstepperformance.co.uk if you want to find out more.
And if you’re a video person, check out the video below from Dr Layne Norton on the very subject.
As always, if you have any questions, just send me an email