The 3 Truths about Dieting & Losing Fat in the Long Term
The first word many people think about when they decide to start or restart a journey to a lighter, slimmer, healthier version of themselves is DIET.
That's right, the dreaded 'D' word.
With the fast pace of society today where people want results FAST, it's no surprise that there are almost as many different 'diets' out there as there are Kilojoules in a McDonald's Big Mac Meal.
However, the longevity of the results experienced when utilising these fat-loss tools, does make me question if they're really worth it. Are the results most people see actually hurting your ability to lose stubborn fat more than helping it?
Let's take a look at a very common diet that a lot of people are trying these days: The low/no carb diet.
I can hear some cries through my computer screen from some of you after just reading those words. Yep, some people actually restrict themselves from eating pasta, rice, bread, potato!
Crazy or not, this particular diet has helped many people lose weight in the short term. That said, carbs are often not the real problem here.
To make things clearer and to get to the bottom of what's really going on when you take on a restrictive diet like the low carb diet, here are the 3 truths about dieting & losing fat in the long term:
- Most weight-loss experienced on a low carb (or other restrictive diet) is a result of eating less Calories than you would if you ate normally.
This is probably the most important take away from this article and because of that you need to look up and read that again before continuing.
Eating less total energy than you're burning is the most important factor when it comes to losing weight. Even more so than exercise! 
That's often what begins to happen (in a big way for some people) when they cut out carbs. For a lot of people, carbohydrates make up a massive portion of their total food throughout the day. That's why it's only logical that people start to miraculously lose weight when carbs are dropped low.
- Restrictive diets are often just a short-term fix to a long-term problem
We all want to look sexy yesterday. But we all want to look sexy tomorrow and next week and next year too right? This is exactly the reason that any changes to our diet or training routines in an effort to achieve the body of our dreams should be sustainable in the long term.
You may well lose some weight but cutting out carbs from your diet for a month or two. However, what do you think is going to happen when you add them back into your diet after depriving yourself from them? What I've seen happen in the past is often one of two likely scenarios:
- Your weight will return back to a similar point it was at before you started since your total calorie intake is back to where it was.
- You will in fact gain more weight than you lost whilst doing the diet because you vacuumed up a whole packet of Tim Tams, 7 subway cookies and a whole loaf of bread because you craved carbs so bad.
… carbs are addictive, I get it.
Whenever you decide to take on a new diet, always consider the longer term as well as the short-term desire to look sexy in that new bikini when the weather is hotter next month.
- Excessive restrictive dieting can make it easier to put fat back on
One of the most commonly overlooked dangers of yo-yo dieting with methods like the low carb diet are that if calories are reduced too much too quickly, this can hurt your metabolism . For example, if you're eating approximately 1600 Calories per day but you decide to take on a new diet where you're eating 1000 Calories, then this could result in problems down the road.
That essentially means that if done too frequently, restrictive diets can make it easier to put fat back on after losing it.
The main reason this occurs is because when we eat less food, our metabolism slows down a bit but when we eat slightly more food, it speeds up. This is all in an attempt to keep our body at a certain weight where it feels 'comfortable'. This comfortable point can also be referred to as the 'body fat set point'.
After coming off a period of lower total calories like many people do when they try a low carb diet, their metabolism has slowed down a bit to try and avoid moving from the set point too quickly. Once, they've finished their diet and switch back to higher calories, many people will overindulge a bit.
Since, it takes some time for your metabolism to readjust back to normal levels, excess calories won't be burned as quickly and thus you may even end up heavier than when you started your diet.
At the end of the day, restrictive diets are just one method to help people improve their eating habits and start to fuel their body with the right things it needs. This article isn't saying that restrictive diets can't help people to drop body fat and achieve the body of their dreams. It's more of a warning to people thinking that all they have to do is follow the diet and their problems are solved.
As the great Nutrition PHD Layne Norton once said: 'For every gime, there's a gotcha'.
The best nutrition or training plan for YOU, is and always will be the one that YOU can stick to.
If the biggest problem when it comes to burning stubborn fat for you is not knowing where to start, how much food you should be eating or even the best kinds of foods for your goals, then you may want a little more help.
The Alpha Fitness team are always happy and willing to help with whatever it is that's holding you back from having that amazing, head-turning bikini body you want, this summer.
Drop us a message and let's get started ASAP.
That's it for now from Jake and the Alpha Fitness team,
Jake is passionate about helping women reach their full potential by rapidly transforming their bodies through holistic methods. To find out more, visit www.alphafitness.com.au.
- Stiegler P, Cunliffe A: The role of diet and exercise for the maintenance of fat-free mass and resting metabolic rate during weight loss. Sports Med. 2006, 36: 239-262. 10.2165/00007256-200636030-00005.
- Kerksick, Chad et al. "Effects Of A Popular Exercise And Weight Loss Program On Weight Loss, Body Composition, Energy Expenditure And Health In Obese Women". Nutrition & Metabolism1 (2009): 23. Web. 16 Oct. 2016.