Are you a woman who has a history of yo-yo dieting? Basically someone who within the last few years have tried to restrict calories more than just eating at maintenance calories?
Did you know every time you diet your metabolism adapts? I ask because for the longest time I had no idea. Think about it. How are your energy levels? Do you actually feel like going for a walk after a long day or would you rather sit on the couch and watch Netflix? Lower output is basically your body conserving itself because you’re not feeding your body. Many of you who have followed my personal fitness journey know that I have spent a good portion of my life on the heavier side. Yes, eventually I was able to get to a more manageable weight in my early adult years, but those last 15 pounds I really wanted to lose never seemed to stay off no matter what I tried to do.
Every few months I would tell myself this would be the week where I really buckle down, control my eating and work out every day of the week. I would run five to six miles most days of the week and pretty much stick to chicken and vegetables. To be honest I got to the point where I was so sick of chicken and vegetables. Sometimes I would even try the latest fad diet thinking it would “jump start” my metabolism, which seems to be something many women still think is possible to accomplish by being excessively restrictive for a number of days. The truth is you’ll likely lose nothing but water weight and your body will end up hitting you back hard once you go back to your normal ways of eating.
I took a break from blogging mainly because I was in the process of redesigning my site and I wanted to devote more time to other interests. I also stopped dieting back in December. I basically surpassed my goal of losing those last 15 pounds (I actually dropped 20 pounds total within the year). I incorporated a solid reverse diet strategy, and since then I have a new appreciation for not dieting and I’m the leanest I have ever been. The best part is I went from eating a little over 1600 calories a day to a little more than 2600 calories a day. I accomplished this by slowly adding calories back in since the end of last year and continuing strength training. Slowly I also tapered off of some cardio and only do just enough to have some endurance. If you’re curious about reverse dieting check out an earlier article I wrote about the subject!
Actually devoting months to a true reverse diet I have learned I have a highly adaptive metabolism. I don’t think I would have ever realized this because at the age of 38, I have been conditioned to think the older you are the more likely you are to be metabolically screwed. Yes, the scale is up slightly, but those handful of pounds have been worth looking leaner, feeling stronger and having amazing energy levels. The scale is not always all telling and I no longer let small spikes ruin my day. The truth is it takes eating so much in excess past your maintenance calories to even gain a pound of fat, which I know I’m not currently doing.
Typically what I tend to see are women with long dieting histories and when they come to me for coaching, I also notice intakes are ridiculously low. If your goal is to lose 10 to 15 pounds and you’re only eating between 1200 and 1300 calories a day where do you expect to go? The only alternative is to dip below 1000 calories a day to create the caloric deficit you need and more than likely this would not be sustainable and you will not enjoy life.
Over time I have learned how valuable it is to have more of a consistent intake and this truly is the key to looking the way you want a year or two from now. The best advice I can give the woman who is constantly spinning her wheels doing the same restrictive diets over and over is to just stop. Take a step back, evaluate your methods and know there is a better way. Some of you could benefit from not dieting for a while actually. Live off of maintenance calories and then look to diet again later down the road after your body and metabolism has had some time to recover. The truth is your stuck because you continue to try to beat your body into submission. What if you stayed the same for the next year? You still win because you have not gained any weight and trust me your friends and family are still going to love you the same. No one cares how much you weigh! Think about where you want to be a year or two from now verses trying to tighten up for that vacation to the beach next month. Stop being the woman who feels the need to diet down for every occasion and you will likely see over time you will eventually have the body you want and will not feel the need to diet down.
I love the freedom I have with my relationship with food. I feel better and my overall mindset is different. I have so much flexibility with my eating and easily can work in treats here and there too! I do not deprive myself or feel deprived at all. I do have new fitness goals for later down the road, but that’s the beauty of committing to true change. You never know what type of interests will be uncovered when you go through the process. If you’re on the struggle bus it’s because you are not allowing yourself enough time and consistency to get the results you want. The reason is likely because you’re doing something extreme to begin with. Our bodies are meant to survive and it will bite back when you try to overly restrict.
I’m not saying every woman will be able to work their intake up to 2600 plus calories a day, but I am convinced most women with restrictive dieting histories should be able to work up their intake to decent numbers and feel a little better. No one really talks about sustainable weight loss, but I have seen a shift in the fitness industry and slowly but surely, the right information is being shared.
As always feel free to reach out via my website if you have any questions. I would love to chat with you about your goals.