Losing fat and keeping it off long term is a complex and difficult thing to do. The hardest thing about losing weight is doing it the right way. So many online coaches, diet books and magazines will give you programs for dropping 10 pounds in a month or 5 pounds a week in six weeks. In theory this sounds great… Awesome! I’ll lose weight and get the physique I've been dreaming about in only a few weeks or months. Although you may be able to drop this weight in a hurry, there is almost a 100 percent chance you will regain the weight you initially lost. Losing weight and keeping it off is a complex process and if you do not do it right you are setting yourself up for weight regain and a dysregulated metabolism. Over the course of this blog we will look into the reasons for this and explain how you can lose weight the right way and set yourself up for long term success, instead of short term bliss followed by long term failure.
People don't have a ‘weight loss’ problem, they have a ‘keeping the weight off’ problem
Millions of people lose weight every year, research shows that 85 percent of people who lose a substantial amount of weight put it all back on (and more!) within 12 months. Of that 85 percent, two thirds of people will have a higher body weight than when they even started losing the weight. The way we are accustomed to dieting in our society sets our bodies up for rapid weight regain and unsuccessful weight loss journeys.
How the way we diet sets us up for failure
Diets such as the Atkins Diet, South Beach Diet, Weight Watchers and so on, all set us up to be unsuccessful, and here’s why. These diets put us on a highly restricted food consumption protocol. Whether it is the macros we are told to eat or the sheer reduction in calories, these diets assume we have infinite willpower when in fact, psychology has proven we have very finite willpower. If we have to eat the same foods each and everyday or highly restrict our calories, eventually we will have a hardcore binge eating day or stop the diet completely and go back to our old eating patterns. The second reason these diets set us up for long term failure is due to the fact they usually have us eating at a large caloric deficit. Eating at a large caloric deficit does a lot of terrible things to our metabolism and this is what sets us for up rapid weight regain in the future. When we decide to rapidly cut calories, our bodies begin to employ a host of evolutionary mechanisms because our bodies think “shit, we are not getting enough food, we better protect ourselves.” When this happens our metabolic rate decreases, our resting energy expenditure decreases and our exercise energy expenditure decreases. Our bodies do this because they want to conserve as much energy as possible. From an evolutionary perspective this makes sense because we would go through times of food scarcity and slowing down our metabolism was essential for our survival. When we diet and we cut calories drastically, these mechanisms are activated which leads to us gaining weight at a rapid pace when we get back to eating a normal caloric intake.
How do we lose weight properly?
1) The research shows that the slower you lose the weight you are trying to lose, the better chances you have of keeping it off long term.
2) Hard work and consistency.
3) Do not cut your calories more than 200-500 calories per day.
4) Eat the way that works for you. If keto works for you...great! If IIFYM works...great! If just eating healthy 90 percent of the time and cheating 10 percent of the time works for you...great! Whichever diet allows you to adhere is the best diet for you.
5) Once you hit your weight loss goals, bringing your calories back up at a slow pace is essential. Let's say you cut your calories by 500 calories a day for two months, you should add 50 calories a week for two to three months to get back up to your normal caloric intake. This will allow your body to metabolically adapt which in turn will prevent you from putting on excess weight.