Most of the dieting world will have you believe that the secret to weight loss is to consume less food than your body expends via exercise, aka going on a diet.
But this is not always the case and sometimes you should plan to eat more food for a pre-determined period of time, usually 7 – 14 days, in order to maintain a healthy amount of weight loss.
Crazy I know as this goes against most mainstream dieting advice who simply ignore the science.
As I explained in this post you should be taking constant breaks from dieting. Nobody does this enough – especially women and it’s a completely backwards way of looking at long-term sustainable weight loss and how the human body works. Less is more with dieting it really is.
You shouldn’t always have the need to think you can push through the hunger and discomfort. Granted that these are two elements to dieting that are going to crop up, but you shouldn’t be feeling like this all of the time.
The amount of women I hear that starve themselves for two days before a weigh in at their local Slimming World group, only to then get home and ravish the food in the cupboards undo all of their ‘disciplined restriction.’ So stupid.
This is a bad idea. Not only because that’s a super unhealthy relationship to have with food, but because your body can only take so much before it drives up your hunger and drops your energy levels, which are both really bad for long-term dieting success. Having low energy and feeling hungry all the time are probably the two greatest diet destroyers.
Your body is smarter than you. It’s going to do all it can to conserve energy and stop you from losing if you’ve already been dieting for a while and have lost a bunch of weight. Your body loves body fat and don’t you forget it.
This is one of the reasons a lot of women plateau with their progress and wonder why they can’t seem to lose their magical 1-2 lbs per week. There is more to weight loss plateau management but that’s a whole other topic.
So why is it that this seemingly counter-intuitive approach is so scary to some?
Here are the facts. With all of the women I’ve worked with, less than 95% of the women either maintained their weight or lost weight when they took a week off dieting. Now I can’t say with 100% certainty that the women who lost weight ignored my advice and carried on dieting. But let’s say that the majority did take that advice. That’s a huge result.
Being able to eat more food to lose weight, and the worse case scenario is that you maintain? I’ll have some of that please!
I understand where this fear and irrationally is coming from. I’ve even experienced it myself to a lesser degree whenever I’ve wanted to lose weight. And working with women this particular subject crops up all of the time. You are afraid that you are going to gain all of the weight back that you have lost or you are going to destroy all of your progress.
Wrong and I’ll show you why.
Most of the world think that weight loss is a linear process that will net you a weight loss every single week when in reality that isn’t how it works. You are going to have up weeks, down weeks, no-loss and no-gain weeks, severe increases in weight and severe decreases in weight.
It’s also super important to increase food intake because you might be lacking in certain nutrients which is always a potential downside to dieting. When you eat less food you may also consume less nutrients and you don’t function as well.
Not only that, increasing food intake will also mean that you’ll be able to bring back some foods you may have temporarily removed which is so important for your sanity and psychology.
I’ve had pizzas, Chinese takeaways, curries, all the chocolate and never felt bad about it when I’e taken a break from my diet. Guess what? Nothing bad happens and I can continue to enjoy life and not worry about gaining all the weight back.
As long as you are moving towards your goal in the right direction you have nothing to worry about and breaks from dieting are a vital necessity. Do not skip them.