Initial enthusiasm to lose weight can outweigh the unrealistic demands of a strict diet. Strict diets slow your metabolism, damage fat loss hormones, instil boredom, and send you on guilt trips when you cheat. Diets low in fat cause stress. Handle your problems without stress eating. Develop a taste for healthy foods. Treat yourself to unhealthy ones, without overindulging.
New diets are released every other day. Unfortunately, most of them don’t work because they are strict and nobody can keep up with them long term.
I’d consider a diet strict if it require you to –
- Maintain a huge calorie deficit,
- Eliminate a certain macronutrient,
- Eat specific foods only,
- Eat a particular time and,
- Stick to it 100 percent.
Such diets lead to short-term weight loss success at best. In fact, most people regain the lost weight and even add extra pounds after using such diets.
Some may still be tempted to try these diets, but I hope the points below will convince you to take the right weight loss approach.
1. They’re Stressful
Strict diets force you to adapt eating habits which are hard to adhere to. So the instant change of habits leads to stress.
Additionally, dieters are usually hard on themselves if they don’t stick to a diet. So when they lapse, they get stressed because they fear they’ll never lose weight.
In fact, some diets cause physiological stress. One of the side effects of low-fat diet is stress and depression because it reduces fatty acids in the brain.
It’s impossible to maintain long term weight loss.
If you follow fad diets diligently you’ll lose weight. But you can’t keep the weight off for good because of the restrictive nature of these diets.
Realize that willpower is usually strong at the start of a diet but with time the stress of dieting becomes too much to bare. Dieters rarely prepare how to deal with the challenges and stress of dieting – they just believe willpower will save them. And when that doesn’t happen, they quit.
2. They Damage Metabolism
Research shows that most strict diets slow down metabolism and damage fat loss hormones.
Strict diets also lead to yo-yo dieting (losing weight and regaining). Over time, this cycle damages metabolism and makes it hard to lose weight.
3. They’re Boring
You’ll get bored with the foods in your diet at some point if you don’t enjoy them. And the problem is when folks get bored they jump to a new diet plan. Which is also rigid, so they quit it and continue the cycle.
4. Strict Diets Lead To Emotional Eating
Most people eat to deal with emotional problems by eating. So people overeat when they feel bad for not sticking to the strict routine.
Studies also show that stress can contribute to overeating and binging.
What You Should Really Do
Since strict dieting doesn’t work, you should take a more flexible approach to dieting. And this can help you maintain weight loss long term. Here’s what you should do.
1. Take Diet Breaks
Maintaining a calorie deficit long term has many negative effects. For one, it slows down metabolism and damages hormones.
A diet break helps reduce the stress of dieting and undoes the negative effects of a calorie deficit. Basically, increase your calorie intake for a week and let hunger control the amount of food you eat. Do this several times during your weight loss journey.
This approach can help you control hunger and overcome the stress of dieting.
2. Eat Healthy 90% Of The Time
Most of the foods you eat should be healthy and unprocessed. But you should also eat the not-so-healthy foods you enjoy.
You won’t feel deprived when you do this and you’ll be able to handle the challenges of maintaining a calorie deficit. But don’t overindulge in these unhealthy foods.
3. Learn To Deal With Your Emotions
If you eat every time you feel sad, or anxious, or lonely, or stressed, you have to stop. Learn how to deal with problems and overcome emotional eating.
4. Choose The Healthy Foods To Eat
The problem with diets is they advice to eat foods you don’t enjoy. Frankly, it’s hard for anyone to eat foods they don’t enjoy without getting sick of them at some point.
5. Be Knowledgeable
Don’t put all your faith in diet books and do exactly as they say. Do your own research and understand nutrition and dieting better. This way you’ll be in a better position to lose weight.
Using a flexible dieting approach will definitely make it easy to eat healthy. What dieting approach has worked for you?