Intermittent Dieting

It’s that feeling of hunger you get when you’re trying to lose weight; that feeling of energy depletion and sluggishness; and the feeling that that slice of mud cake is screaming at you to eat it…. Well that one is probably you just being delusional, however there could be scientific reasoning behind all of those dieting symptoms.

This week I attended a seminar by associate professor Amanda Salis who presented the topic “Why diets (usually) fail”. Amanda has done research on behalf of the University of Sydney’s Boden Institute of Obesity, Exercise and Eating Disorders and she claims that the reason many diets fail is because the body responds to energy restriction with a ‘famine reaction’ that increases appetite, reduces metabolic rate and alters circulating hormone concentrations in a way that stimulates fat accumulation. In other words, when you restrict your intake of calories your body starts to think that there isn’t enough food available to eat and it slows everything down to prevent you wasting away!

This research amazed me, as I have been preaching the idea of boosting your metabolism and eating more to lose more for a while now, and this shows that what I have been advising actually has a whole lot of evidence behind it. So what does Amanda recommend we do to beat this pesky famine response? She recommends intermittent dieting as a strategy to overcome the slowing of the metabolism in order to continue to lose weight and break the plateau. In her studies she monitored two groups of women; one group who took part in continuous dieting with a calorie restriction of 500 calories per day, the other group who restricted their intake by 500 calories per day for two weeks, followed by two weeks of eating to maintain their weight. For example, the intermittent dieting group followed a 1500cal diet for two weeks followed by a 2000cal diet for then next two weeks and repeated this process. After the trial finished, the intermittent dieting group actually lost significantly more weight than the continuous dieters even though they ate more!

20131001-222535.jpgThis way over getting over a weight loss plateau is highly successful and I encourage you to increase your calorie intake for a while to save your metabolism from the sluggish state you’ve put it in. This way you can trick your body into losing more body fat without hitting a plateau again. Give this method a try and see what a difference it makes, and soon you’ll be off that plateau and getting the results you want!

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