It's not just the 'diet industry' out to starve you
At some point (if not already) you have discovered that dieting doesn’t work. You know this because you’ve regained the weight that you lost. Chances are, you’re one of the large majority who have done multiple diets and regained the weight.
The reason for this is very simple: Your body is built for survival. I kid you not. The only reason you and I are here on this planet is for one thing, that thing, is to reproduce and keep the planet populated. To do that, we need to be alive.
Every single thing that your body does on a day to day basis is designed to keep you out of harm’s way. If you hold your breath for too long, you will gasp for air. If your arteries are damaged, cholesterol comes along to plug up the holes. If you sense danger, hormones surge through your body to help you fight it or flee it and if you’re in a famine those same hormones assist your thyroid in slowing down your metabolism so you can wait it out.
Your body does all these things in response to stimuli.
So when you undertake a restrictive diet, this becomes the stimuli that your body responds to. Just like any other threat to its survival (and therefore reproduction), your body doesn’t really like this.
So under a survival threat, our body does 2 main things:
1. It compensates (eg, slow metabolism)
2. It tries to normalise (eg, going back to your old ways / binging / craving)
The normalisation of the body cannot be overcome with Willpower. You are asking an autonomic biological response to fight with your conscious brain. That’s like writing a nice letter to your menstrual cycle and asking it to stay away for a month.
Many people blame themselves for going back to their old ways, but the reality, is that your body did it for you.
The Diet Industry gets blamed for this, and rightfully so. But there is another, more sinister type of person who is acting out as the Diet Villian.
The Guru Trainers
Who and what are the Guru Personal Trainers. In a nutshell, they are the people with the pretty and exciting marketing that make you think it’s not another diet your purchasing, but instead a “fat loss system” created by those who are top of their game.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
I recently purchased one of these programs. When I worked out the calories they wanted me to eat, it came out like this: 3 days @1200 cals / 3 days fasting / 1 day cheat. Now, let’s say I could eat 3000 calories in my cheat day. For the week, on average the calories come out at 942 cals on average per day.
I happened across another “method” by a “Fitness Expert” yesterday. The concept was : A shake at lunch, a shake at afternoon snack and sensible portions of meat, veg and a bit of fat for dinner.
So I crunched the numbers on this. Most protein shakes (with water) are around 120cals. The evening meal ends up being approximately 250 calories. But let’s be kind and say 300. This is a total of 540 calories per day.
Both these methods are actual methods, but these “Gurus” have taken it out of context.
The first diet is a form of Intermittent Fasting, and while you can fast 3 days of the week, our goal is still to have a sensible calorie deficit. While eating 1200 calories on a standard diet every day is too low to really support our body it is possible to eat on AVERAGE 1200 calories a day over 7 days using IF to reduce the metabolic effects. This does mean eating a serious amount of food on the non-fasting days. The diet I purchased to look at, as I mentioned only has be eating on average 942 calories per day and that’s assuming I could choke down a 3000 calorie cheat day, which I struggle to do, so those average calories may not even be that much.
What we need to understand, is that when you restrict calories, you are restricting micro-nutrients, so although IF is a great method, we still need to ensure that over the 7 day week, we obtained enough micro-nutrition (vitamins / minerals) and on this program, with 1 cheat day, 3 fasting days, only 2 food days and one shake day, it’s highly unlikely you will get those nutrients.
The second diet consisting of 2 shakes and 1 meal is even worse. The calories are low as well as the micro-nutrition, it’s not done in an Intermittent Fasting manner, so this person is going to experience the starvation effects of restrictive dieting and eventually as I have already discussed, your body will compensate and attempt to normalise. Remembering of course, that this is when rebound weight gain and going back to your old ways kicks in.
The other point to note on this diet is that they are selling you a product. They have suggested 2 shakes a day not because it burns fat, but because they have a particular protein shake they want to sell you. So they have handed out their ‘diet’ method for free and attempted to show us why it’s the best method for fat loss in the hopes that we believe we must have their product also for it to work properly. But at 540 calories a day, you don’t need to worry – everyone will lose weight.
And regain it.
So these are two diet methods being marketed by fitness ‘gurus’. Whilst we may be starting to become suspicious of the Diet Industry, we are still being fooled by the Health & Fitness Industry into believing that their nutrition advice is somehow better. When you crunch the calories and look behind the marketing, you can see that they are offering you the same exact same solution: Restricted diets, Rapid losses, products/supplements.
Not one single client who works with me will ever eat less than 1500 calories, they have come to realise the more food they eat, the easier it is for the body to release body fat.