There are so many diets out there: Keto, Atkins, Paleo, Intermittent Fasting, Low Carb, Juicing, Shakes, Macro counting, RP, and so many more. They all in fact work IF your in a calorie deficit. Energy in vs energy out, there has to be more going out than going in in order to have weight loss occur. Are some of the diets better than others? Sure, and depending on who you talk to the opinion will be different every time. Most of these aren’t sustainable in the long term but that’s why they are called diets right? They are meant to be temporary.
Unfortunately NONE of these advertise that they will help you transition back to a sustainable lifestyle. What happens when most people stop dieting? They go back to eating what they ate before or they binge, and then gain the weight back plus some. What most don’t know is that there in fact IS a way to transition off a diet. Under the guidance of a nutritional coach a dieter would be gradually taken out of a calorie deficit they were in for weight loss. This process would be done over several weeks while collecting data to ensure goals are met, and previous weight loss is not regained during this process. What is also super important is how our hormones bounce back. By going through a guided transition our body slowly rebounds allowing for the body to readjust from the stress of dieting. If this process isn’t done correctly we will throw our hormones outta wack and that is a whole other topic to dive into! Chronic dieters are most at risk for hormone concerns along with other health issues.
Chronic dieters will keep lowering calories or continuously live in a state of “diet”, and at some point “dieting” no longer works at all for them OR they start having other health concerns due to being severely malnourished. For example if a dieter is living in a calorie deficit at 1200 calories and stops seeing progress they will opt to lower calories to 1000 calories so on and so on. By continuously over dieting health concerns arise like hormone imbalances, lost menstrual cycles, infertility (for both male and female), no sex drive, weakened heart (too low blood pressure), hair loss, fatigue, hypoglycaemia(low blood sugar),depression, obsessivness, body dismorphia, and so many more. Once already a chronic dieter, my strong opinion would be to consult a Registered Dietician (RD). They have the medical background to support and help someone who is considered a chronic dieter. I have several friends I can refer out too if its ever needed!!
For non- chronic dieters
Transitioning off a diet may not only happen once for some people. Dieting aka eating in a calorie deficit really should only happen 1 or 2 times a year for approx 12 weeks in duration each time. The rest of the year dieters should be eating in a maintenance state, which is eating to maintain previous weight lost or current weight. So lets say Susan wants to lose 50lbs, realistically Susan could go through 2 to 4 diet deficits. In order for her to do this safely and sustainable. Her coach would guide her through her first calorie deficit for 12 weeks followed by weeks to a few months of transitioning into a calorie surplus aka maintenance phase. Once she lives there for a while, her coach will then start the process all over again until her weight goal is achieved. By her following a plan guided by a coach she is maintaining a healthy balance of macro & micro-nutrients, while also keeping her hormones and overall health balanced. In the long term she is MORE likely to keep the 50 lbs off. Her quality of life while dieting is also more likely to be sustainable which in my opinion is the most important part.
Anyone can diet, not many people want to be in for the LONG HALL that would be sustainable for life and then not “diet” at all. Susan now has created a balanced lifestyle while still enjoying life.
Living sustainably should always be the end game goal in my opinion. Speaking of end game there should always, in fact, be some form of exactly that – an end game PLAN. Whether that be with a certified coach or with an RD. Who is best suited for you will depend on your goals and your current health state as well. Your coach or RD should be extremely thorough and explain a plan of action before starting any nutritional plan. Ask alot of questions and never fall victim to a diet gimmick that has no plan for an exit.