When it comes to fat loss, just about every fitness professional, nutritionist and diet coach is in agreement that energy balance is the number 1 determining factor. For the most part, we’re playing a game of numbers: eat less than you burn day-in, day out and you will lose weight. Consistently eat more than you burn and, yep you guessed it, you’ll gain weight!
Here are 3 strategies people often use to lose weight – together with a brief review of the benefits and pitfalls:
Strategy 1: Eat less – the dieter’s strategy.
Strategy 2: Train more – the “out-training a bad diet” strategy.
Strategy 3: Eat less + Move more – the long-term strategy.
This post aims to delve into the first, and the most popular of these weight-loss plans:
The Dieter's Strategy:
A very simple and very effective strategy to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories you’re putting in, without increasing the number of calories you’re burning too dramatically. This is a hugely popular strategy and one that is often used by diets such as Slimming World, Weight Watchers, Herbalife and so on.
Many of these diet plans may suggest exercising alongside their plans, but ultimately they are looking to achieve weight loss independently of exercise, through restricting calories and/or restricting food groups.
The benefits to this approach is that this is a relatively easy path to take for many. Each of these diet plans have ‘rules’ to follow, accountability groups, recipes and often meal replacement shakes to make the whole process easy for their dieters to follow.
The weight loss results are almost immediate too, largely due to the large calorie deficit you’ve now created. This will often motivate you to continue, stick to the plan and go one further - often recommending it to your friends and relatives.
Of course, it’s important to mention that this approach isn’t reserved just for those on a conventional diet plan. Anyone can achieve weight loss simply by reducing the volume and size of their portions.
Problems occur usually 3-6 months down the line when their weight loss reaches a plateau or – worse still – it all comes piling back on. Studies have shown time and time again that the large majority (around 95% in some studies) of those who use extreme calorie restricted diet plans actually put the weight back on – and more – 1-2 years later. Some studies even go further to highlight the act of ‘dieting’ as a consistent predictor of future weight gain due to the metabolic damage this causes. This is where diet plans get their “yoyo” nickname from.
Loss of muscle tissue:
Extreme dieting causes a multitude of long-term damage to the way your body functions and performs, both short and long term. Severe restriction – especially in the absence of exercise – will result in the loss fat AND, more worryingly, the loss of muscle tissue. Each time we lose muscle, our metabolic rate drops. This causes the number of calories we burn to drop. It’s only a matter of time until our metabolism becomes so low that the number of calories we’re burning on a daily basis isn’t actually much higher than the calories we’re taking in. This is when your results begin to plateau, or stop entirely, and you decide to give up on the diet altogether.
Bounce-back of weight:
You then return to your normal eating patterns. You can’t stay on the diet all your life after all, can you?
Only, with your metabolism and hormones damaged from the diet plan you’ve been following, your body struggles to utilise the foods you’re eating as energy and instead you pile a significant amount on as fat. NOT the intention you set out with!
This is the person we see time and time again at MYPT.
We understand it’s frustrating. We understand it’s confusing. The good news is, this metabolic damage can be fixed! It’s a process that needs education and coaching into new healthy habits, without extreme restriction or overhauls. It’s the slow and steady approach we take with clients every day and a strategy that keeps giving results for a lifetime.
So, now that we’ve given you this information how do we create a plan to get the numbers working for us and not against us?
We create a plan that allows you to steadily (not dramatically) decrease the number of calories you’re putting in. We create a plan to steadily (not dramatically) increase the number of calories you’re exerting.
You can read more about this strategy, here >> Strategy 3: Eat less + Move more – the long-term strategy.
Or you can join in the fun and get your results underway today.
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