The Truth about Dieting
The definition of a diet is the temporary and unsustainable restriction of food or calories. Most popular weight-loss diets call for extreme measures. In these instances you will lose weight, but there's two problems with this approach:
Low-calorie diets are almost impossible to follow long term and 95% of people on conventional diets eventually regain it
Most people neglect proper nutrition and training while dieting so that most of the weight they lose is lean body mass (muscle), not fat.
Most diets focus on eliminating certain food groups or certain ingredients, such as the paleo diet, low or “no” carb diets, or ketogenic diets. The problem with restriction and elimination is that more often than not, you will reintroduce those foods back into your diet, usually in large amounts because you have been depriving yourself of them, which in turn shocks the body.
When you introduce a calorie deficit at the start of a diet, you will lose weight initially but it usually slows down over time and sometimes stops completely. That is why the law of energy balance, which states that if you consume fewer calories than you burn you will lose weight, is sometimes deceiving. This is because the math equation changes as you progress in your weight loss journey: as your body gets smaller, you need fewer calories to support it. In most cases, people fail to adjust their calorie intake to match their lower energy needs and they don't train or nourish themselves properly to maintain muscle, and then they get frustrated because their fat loss has stalled or plateaued. The truth is that your body has adapted to the calorie intake and in order to see fat loss at the same rate, you will need to drop your calories a bit more, and begin to incorporate cardio, if you haven't already. This can lead to a frustrating downward spiral, especially if you have no idea what your baseline calorie number should be!
Your body can't tell difference between aggressive dieting and starvation. Your body’s starvation response is what keeps you alive in the rare instance that you have no access to food. When your body senses a severe drop in calories (like when dieting), your survival response kicks in. Even though dieting is a choice you make, not a life or death situation, your body thinks to itself, "it looks like this is all the food you're going to be getting for a while, so you better stop burning calories and save your energy." This ends up triggering your body's defense mechanisms that protect you from starvation and hold onto the weight that you so badly want to get rid of weight.
Keep these tips in mind in order to effectively transform your body and burn FAT not muscle.
- Think “lifestyle” not “diet”
- Think “sustainable” not “temporary”
- Maintain your muscle, which is a fat-burning secret weapon. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest and while exercising.
- Cut calories conservatively. Aggressive diets are not maintainable.
- Burn the fat, don’t starve it.
- Train properly! Get off the treadmill and incorporate weightlifting at least 3x a week. Lift heavy weights and focus on increasing your strength! This will ensure that you are reshaping your body and boosting your metabolism. This will allow you to eat more AND still lose fat.
- The fastest way to transform your body is to eat more and move more, NOT eat less and move less.
- Lose weight at the right weight for YOU. You will be the only one who can tell what is possible and realistic. If your calorie deficit is too big, you will constantly be hungry, thinking and obsessing about food, and have decreased energy levels. Find a deficit that works FOR you, not AGAINST you.
- Healthy fat loss should be anywhere between .5-2lbs/week, depending on your body type. Inserting higher calorie days occasionally or cycling between high and low calorie days provides a physical and physiological break and actually optimizes your hormones and spikes your metabolism.
- Practice a dieting technique that works for YOU! I personally practice flexible dieting, which allows me to include my favorite foods in moderation and have no restrictions. I have ice cream almost every night. If I crave something, I eat it, and it prevents me from binging later on. Tracking my macros has allowed me to heal my relationship with food not associate negative words with any foods, like "cheat" or "unhealthy."
If you have more questions about fat loss or want to talk to me about the best and fastest way to transform your physique, send me a message and I'd be glad to schedule a 15 minute phone call with you!