Low cal diets are causing you to gain weight? This woman is crazy.
Yup, I can hear you thinking that. But hear me out. Because when you understand why I am saying this, it all makes sense.
We are taught that in order to lose weight, we absolutely must go on a low calorie diet. Normally the magic number is around 1200 calories to lose weight. I don’t know who came up with that number but it’s what I hear all the time from women who are frustrated with dieting and tired of the endless cycle of losing & gaining the same weight over and over.
Calorie deficit is king. And not just any calorie deficit, but the lowest amount we can possibly do without excessive misery. Most dieters like to push themselves to extremes so that they can get results fast. Like they can go super low and outsmart their bodies, science and get that diet done as fast as possible. Why? Because they want to done so they can lose the weight and get back to enjoying their lives.
Because dieting sucks.
Finally something we can agree on. Because dieting does suck – but its not what you think. We MAKE dieting suck. We make it suck because we expect to lose all the weight we have gained over the YEARS and lose it in DAYS. Now who’s crazy?
Most dieters go hell bent for leather towards that weight loss goal. They take any product they can, eat nothing but bland and boring foods, engage in punishing workouts … all because we all hate the process of losing weight. Most of us don’t stop to think about how WE are making this process miserable with unreasonable expectations and impossible demands on our bodies and our lives.
But here’s the thing. Say we make it to the ‘end’ of our diet. We’ve lost all that weight and we’re thin, sexy … and miserable as anything. Why? Because we achieved that scale weight or dress size by learning how to deprive ourselves. By learning to lose weight eating nothing but chicken and veggies. By learning that deprivation is the key to weight loss.
Here’s what most of us don’t do:
- Learn healthy habits so that we can sustain the weight loss after we achieve it
- Learn how to make the foods we enjoy healthier (guess it’s boring chicken forever)
- Think about what happens ‘next’ after we lose the weight so when the diet ends … we go back to the same unhealthy habits that got us fat in the first place
And this doesn’t even begin to address what happened to our bodies when we put them through that diet ordeal. Our bodies use the majority of the food we give it everyday just to run essential processes so that we can do everything we need to, to make it through our day. When we dramatically cut out the majority of food we are giving our bodies, well let’s just say our bodies goes into shock. Low calorie diets will cause things like:
- Hormone disruption – increasing some (to get you to eat more) and decreasing others (so you feel like crapola)
- Metabolism slowdown – your body will slow this waaaaaaay down because its not an essential system which is why women see so many plateaus and why when they eat more, they rapidly gain fat
- An increase in stress that can manifest in symptoms like low energy, inability to focus, mood swings and more
Plus it sets people up nicely for binging, falling off the wagon, calling it quits …. whatever you want to term ditching the diet in favour of actually eating again.
And because our bodies are in chaos (hey they think we went through the zombie apocolypse) when we ditch the diet because we just can’t take it anymore … we gain back all the weight and MORE. And when we diet multiple times a year after falling off the wagon, well most of us end up heavier (and way more unhealthy) than when we started and wondering why the hell can’t we just lose weight. Like why does it have to be so HARD?
We make it hard. Hard on ourselves. Hard to sustain. Hard to live.
As a nutrition coach and a woman who did the yo-yo dieting for more years than I like to count, I can tell you from experience and training that the way to sustainable weight loss isn’t through extreme diets. In fact if you want to lose weight, toss those 1200 calorie diets out the window.
As a coach, I teach women a healthier and more sustainable way to reach their health and weight loss goals. I want the women in my tribe to ditch diets and build lifestyles that they don’t need to fall off the wagon to escape and which keeps their bodies healthy and strong.
It’s not about how low can you go and it’s not about trying to lose your weight in 21 days. That’s a recipe for quitting. For weight gain. For poor health. If you want to cut out the dieting bullshit, stop trying to attain the impossible. There isn’t a magic solution to weight loss. You can’t buy a pill, shake, tea or wrap that will get you there and preclude all the work it takes to build a healthy lifestyle that sustains weight loss.
If you are interested in learning more about how you can create a healthy lifestyle that supports your goals, click here.