Here’s something I see pretty commonly with folks that come into the training studio, frustrated with the results they are getting from their fitness program.
They lose a bunch of weight, on some kind of diet and exercise regime … only to find themselves right back to where they started a few short months later.
Has this ever happened to you?
A big reason this happens is because the average diet shuts down your metabolism. It slows your calorie burning down and puts your body into starvation mode. A body in starvation mode, stops burning fat and looks for every opportunity to store body fat.
As soon as you stop your restrictive diet and start eating normally again, your body quickly shuttles those calories into your body fat until you end up back where you started.
Good news is, this “dieting nightmare” CAN be avoided. Make sure your diet doesn’t include any of these 3 dieting pit-falls!
1 – Prolonged Low Calories
Your body is an amazing machine that will respond to any consistent message you are giving it, by putting you in the best position to survive. The amount of calories you are eating on a daily basis will effect your metabolic rate or the amount of calories your body burns on a daily basis. Going long periods with low calories will lead to your body down-regulating your metabolism and putting the brakes on fat burning. This is all done in an effort to prevent you from starvation.
The Solution: Allow for some higher calorie days at strategic intervals during your diet phase. This will avoid the dreaded “Starvation Mode” as it sends the message that there is an abundance of calories available and there is no fear of starvation.
2 – Low Protein
Lean muscle tissue is the biggest regulator of your metabolic rate. The more muscle you have the more calories (and fat) you will burn in a day/week/month. It is critically important that you preserve muscle mass to keep your metabolic rate high.
The problem is that many diets lead to not only fat loss but also significant lean muscle tissue loss. As you come off your diet with less muscle, your metabolism has slowed and you will quickly put weight back on as you resume a normal eating plan.
The Solution: Protein is the main building block of muscle tissue. Your fat loss diet needs to have optimal levels of protein to prevent muscle loss. And when your calories are low, protein requirements are higher. A simple rule of thumb – (although probably on the high side, it keeps it simple, and still works great) is to shoot for a daily protein intake of 1 gram per pound of body weight.
3 – No Strategy to Transition from the Diet back to Real Life
No matter the diet if you immediately jump back into a higher calorie eating plan you are bound to gain weight back. Your metabolism needs some time to adjust and get used to your new levels of low body fat.
The Solution: A successful diet plan will include a strategy to slowly get you back to a normal healthy eating plan without a rebound weight gain. Beyond that your diet plan should also provide a blueprint for your new “Lean Lifestyle” etc.
To sum up, if you’re looking to lose body fat, and KEEP it off, avoid the three “dieters pitfalls” outlined in this article. These three strategies are key to your long – term success!!
Thanks, enjoy your weekend, and talk soon -
Forest Vance, MS
Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach
PS - More new and interesting info on maximizing your nutrition for fat loss / lean muscle gain coming your way over the next couple of days … stay tuned!