If you’ve ever gone on a diet to lose weight, then lost the weight only to gain it back again you’re not alone.
I wasn’t even 20 when I began to experience this situation myself. And before that, I’d watched my mum live through the same wretched pattern since I was a very young girl.
The more I looked around me; to friends, extended family, colleagues, aquaintences and our society as a whole. The more I realised that despite the multitude of diets around, there was still a massive problem.
You see, all mainstream diets promise (and deliver) weight loss if you can stick to their program for a number of months. But what they fail to do is give you what you really want.
The ability to maintain a body you feel comfortable and confident in for life.
To be able to eat foods you like (without the fear of gaining weight) and enjoy your social life. Which includes being able to eat foods that are often considered “off limits” or even “bad” by many mainstream diets.
Now, as a curious and knowledge hungry woman, I started searching for answers. And as part of my search, I tried everything out for myself long before I started working with clients.
And what I discovered in the end, was that the answer is a lot simpler and WAAAAY more enjoyable than the majority of the diet & fitness industry would have us believe.
So how do we lose weight & actually maintain that weight loss so that we don’t have to diet on and off for the rest of our lives?
To be honest, the solution to this problem is the whole reason I became a nutrition and fitness coach and is why am writing to you now. And I really want to do this topic justice.
My mission is help you understand what really works, why it works and support you through your own journey as you transform your body and find real balance and freedom when it comes to what you eat.
Ready for some answers?
Let’s get into it!
Why do weight loss diets work?
(AKA THE SECRET TO WEIGHT LOSS)
This is something that a vast number of well educated women still don’t know. And if your area of expertise isn’t nutrition for weight loss, then it’s not surprising.
With all the promises of “the secret to weight loss” the real secret (which really isn’t a secret) still seems to be lost in translation.
Mainly, because it’s so simple that when you hear about it, you still think there’s got to be something more.
So before I explain. Allow me to remind you, the ‘more’ is actually in the effort it takes to do the things (take the action) that lead to the results you want. But more on this part later.
All diets work for losing weight (yes, every single diet you could possibly think of) because they put you into a Calorie deficit.
That is: A state where you’re experiencing a negative energy balance.
Where the amount of energy your body is taking in (through food) is less than the amount of energy you are expending throughout the day.
It can also be explained like this: calories in vs calories out.
Now if you’re really new to the concept of energy balance, calories and the calorie deficit, don’t worry I’m going to back track now and explain a little more.
Every food you put inside your body has an energy value. And the unit of measure for the energy of food is called a calorie.
So calories aren’t evil food gremlins that make us fat?! Lol… no.
Our body actually needs energy or calories. And we need quite a lot of them to not only survive, but thrive!
And it doesn’t matter whether you count calories or not, if you’re eating food you’re consuming calories. Which as I said above, is actually a good thing.
You can think of calories as the foundation of your nutritional needs. And just like a solid and safe house, you want your nutrition to have a strong base.
So how does weight loss work?
The best way to understand this is to think of an old fashioned scale.
When both sides of the scale are even and at the same height, we have energy balance. You could also call this calorie balance. And this is where your body is able to maintain it’s weight.
Which means you are eating the same amount of calories as your body is expending during the day.
In order to lose weight, one end of that scale needs to drop down. Creating your calorie deficit.
You probably know this instinctually as eating less and moving more.
Making more sense now?
Any diet you’ve ever tried, has simply removed certain foods to put you into a position where you’ve been eating less than your body has been moving throughout the day.
But removing certain foods isn’t actually necessary.
Is it simple to say ‘don’t eat this or that’ and you’ll lose weight? Absolutely!
But through my own experience and also through conversations I’ve had with many of my clients, I’ve discovered that this demonisation of certain foods isn’t actually helpful for us in the long run.
What happens when it’s someones birthday and you are offered a slice of cake? Have you suddenly ruined everything?
Many people would say yes. But the answer is no. You could technically eat a slice of cake everyday and if you are in a calorie deficit, you’d still lose weight.
What surprises most women once they understand this concept is that they really can eat anything they like!
You don’t have to cut out pasta if you don’t want to. And you can eat some chocolate without guilt, because as long as you account for that chocolate in your weekly calorie ‘budget’ you will still lose weight.
It isn’t the type of food you’re eating that enables you to lose weight, but the quantity.
Now, it has to be said…
Of course nutritional quality and making healthy choices is important. But you knew that already 😉
(I have another article coming up about the nutrients your body needs to support your hormones and metabolism better.)
Today, your main takeaway is that the calorie deficit drives your weight loss AND you don’t have to eat like a rabbit to achieve your weight loss goals.
But as I said in the beginning, losing weight isn’t the problem: Keeping it off is.
So let’s look into that:
Why do we gain back the weight we’ve lost?
It’s not because you have poor self control. And it’s not because you love food. You’re allowed to love food. Food isn’t the enemy.
The reason most women gain back the weight is because they go straight from their diet (calorie deficit) back to eating like they used to (calorie surplus)
I’m sure I don’t need to explain that eating a surplus of calories is the cause of weight gain.
What most people are missing is the CRUCIAL step in between the diet & maintenance.
You see there are phases to building a body you love and feel confident in. And each phase has a particular strategy that works with your body to achieve that main goal.
Let’s have a brief look at them.
Phase 1: Calorie Surplus
This is the period of time that you’ve been eating more than your body requires and as a consequence it has started storing up body fat. Most women usually catch themself here and decide it’s time to lose weight.
Phase 2: The Calorie Deficit
You’ve decided to start watching what you eat. And as I’ve mentioned before, it doesn’t matter what approach you take to lose the weight, if you’re losing weight its the result of eating less than you usually do.
Phase 3: Reverse Diet
This is the part most people miss out, because honestly, most people have never even heard about it! Let alone knowing how to put themselves through it.
Long story short, it’s exactly what it sounds like. A reversal of the diet process.
Instead of eating less, you gradually start eating more. (When done right, you don’t gain weight)
It’s a period of time where the focus is on speeding up your metabolism. Then once you have a faster metabolism, you will then have a lot of freedom to enjoy all the foods you love.
Your maintenance calorie set point will be higher, making it much easier to maintain the body you’ve been working hard for.
Phase 4: Maintenance
This is when your energy intake is in balance with the energy out. Which may sound obvious and perhaps you’ve even heard of maintenance before. But in my professional experience I’ve noticed that not many women actually know what it’s like to eat at maintenance. Even more, some don’t know how to. And if you fall into this category, I don’t believe it’s your fault.
Diet culture puts so much of an emphasis on the 2nd phase. And unfortunately, most diets are so restrictive (cut out this, cut out that and don’t eat THAT whatever you do) that by the time you come off the diet, you’re ready to go crazy! So of course weight gain happens.
As someone who got stuck for years flitting back and fourth between phase 1 & phase 2. I’m super passionate about teaching maintenance now. It is BLISS.
Imagine having plenty of energy everyday. Imagine being able to eat anything you like without blowing up.
Imagine feeling relaxed around food, with no desire to go off in secret and eat a pack of biscuits to yourself. (or insert any other trigger food)
You can be that person who feels comfortable in your body all year round.
The sort of person who never needs to diet again and appears to others as the lucky one who can eat whatever they want.
The first step is considering that there is another way & being open to letting go of the approaches that have been keeping you stuck in the same cycle for years.
The second step is actually doing the work. Learning how to fuel your body properly (it’s not always about cutting food out) so that you’re getting all the necessary nutrients to transform the way you look and feel.
Wanting expert guidance, support and accountability to help you lose weight, build your metabolism and maintain it for life?
That’s exactly why I created my 1:1 coaching program: Permanent Progress Project.
If you’d like to find out more, you can click this link to read more about it. Then I’d love to invite you to apply for a complimentary discovery call with me. That we can have a conversation to determine if it’s right for you.