Dieting has long held a negative connotation the world over and yet, we continue to do it. We yo-yo and start the cycle of on-off dieting every time a celebrity graces the pages of a glossy mag to show off their (often) extreme weight loss thanks to new diet. Or you sign up for 8 week challenge after 8 week challenge at your local gym, all with the good intention of losing some extra kilos.
Whilst not all diets or challenges are bad, it is so important that they have a basis of education behind them. Explanations for why you are eating what you’re eating, and what is happening to your body when you do it. Diet’s should always be tailor made to your goals – goals that are specific, measurable and realistic.
They also have to be suitable to your real life circumstances so you can carry on the changes you have made in the long run - your diet or 8 week challenge becomes the building blocks for a life style change.
If you are keen to sign up to a new diet or challenge, it’s important to understand the changes that will happen to your body so you can make an educated decision before diving in. The majority of diets see people decreasing their energy input, creating an energy deficit when compared to energy output. When energy out is more then energy in, it results in a negative balance which for most people will cause weight loss. For others it’s a bit more complex which is when hormones and thyroid measures can be taken to uncover any underlying barriers.
Whilst your body is in an energy deficit it goes through multiple processes that are referred to as adaptive thermogenesis to try and reverse the deficit.
One of the first things your body will do when you start dieting is reduce your basal metabolic rate through hormonal adaptation. Your basal metabolic rate is a measurement of the energy your body needs at rest to performing basic life sustaining functions like breathing and thinking – that all takes up energy. During this stage you may feel sluggish, fatigued, unable to concentrate - all a result of your basal metabolic rate reducing.
Your body also reduces the thermic effect of food which is the amount of energy your body uses to eat and digest food. Whilst it’s not common to feel physical effects of this, you possibly may feel some bloating or poor/changed digestion.
The energy you expend through accidental exercise also reduces. So the energy your body normally uses to walk up the hill to work reduces, so once you get to the top you may be out of breath with legs feeling a little heavier than normal. This is all your body trying to reduce your energy output because you are consuming less energy (food).
The longer your dieting goes on, the more use your body gets to living in an energy deficit which means that all of the adaptive thermogenesis processes above put your body in the perfect position to put weight back as soon as you change the energy balance.
This is why the large majority of nutritionist and dieticians won’t recommend diets. Instead we recommend small changes to your every day, bit by bit accompanied by the introduction of macro and nutrient balanced meals. We won’t throw you current routine on it’s head and have you starving, and we also won’t take away your weekly red wine and cheese night because we know that will just make you want it more and it you’ll end up binging.
Want realistic, achievable and maintainable results? Get in touch via our CONTACT page – we’ve got your back when it comes to reaching your goals whether they be weight or muscle loss/gain/maintenance with the education to support it.