If you’re struggling to lose those extra few pounds that you put on over Christmas and new year, the temptation to go to extremes and massively reduce your calorie intake can be immense, especially when you’re bombarded with diet programmes wherever you look.
I really hope I can persuade you to ignore all the hype and not be seduced by the hype. To be fair, dramatically restricting your calories will result in weight loss – absolutely! The various programmes that offer meal replacement bars and drinks, giving you between 500 – 800 calories a day will work – but for how long?
I see SO MANY clients who have been on these programmes, often many times over, only to put the weight back on, and often end up weighing more than before they started the miserable process of being hungry and bored on one of these plans.
There are a number of problems with low-calorie regimes that make long-term success highly unlikely:
There’s the psychological issue of deprivation and boredom: once you’ve committed to a low calorie diet, it won’t take long before you’re craving and obsessing about the foods you enjoy but can’t have. Soon you’ll be cheating, then beating yourself up about cheating and invariably this leads to feeling useless, hopeless and depressed.
Then there’s the inevitable problem of your body’s response to being deprived of energy – it will very quickly adapt to the reduced calorie intake and manage to do exactly what you demand of it i.e. your typical daily activities, on less. Your metabolic rate drops to accommodate your energy output in comparison to your energy input. End result, your metabolic rate will be more efficient i.e. slower than when you started. The less you eat, the less you will need to eat – simple!
Finally, my biggest issue with these diets is that they prevent you from learning how to feed yourself well and manage your weight using fresh, natural foods. The artificially flavoured meal replacements may be packed full of added vitamins and minerals, but you will not be getting the goodness, the enzymes, fibres and flavours that will satisfy you; the diet will not nourish you properly on a physical or psychological level and it will suppress, not stimulate your internal furnace.
These diets can never be long-term because they are so restrictive. Once you resume your ‘normal’ eating, the pounds will pile back on.
Learn to eat well and you will never have to think about a diet again – really!