I’ve made it very clear that I am opposed to fad diets, and insane approaches to weight loss, but I also preach ‘do what works for you and makes you happy’.
Well, it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is.
Tell me if this sounds like you:
You want to lose weight. There is a holiday, or party coming up that you want to look slamming for so you start on the big new diet that everyone is raving about. You are dedicated, starving yourself and working your arse off, determined to hit your goals and look incredible. The diet ends after a few weeks, either you’ve broken and gone back to old ways or you’ve hit your goal and feel amazing! The diet is over and you’re back on your own. You’re blissfully happy until one day you step on the scales, and in that moment, you are right back where you started. The weight is back to where it was, if not worse, you’re disheartened and dreading the thought of starting all over again.
It is the same for everyone, trust me.
The problem I have with these fad diets and organisations such as juice plus, weight watchers and slimming world is that it isn’t sustainable. People who see success with these schemes invariably re gain the weight, forcing them to buy from the companies again and again.
But the key thing to remember for this article is that people can lose weight on them.
I want to show you how you can stop the weight coming back.
The term reverse dieting is banded around a lot without any real explanation. Basically what you should do at the end of a diet from which you lose weight through a calorie deficit (all fat loss diets) is slowly raise your calories back to an amount that will have you maintaining weight, without you gaining too much if any fat back. It takes concentration
Here’s what you do:
As your diet comes to its end, you’ve lost the weight you want to lose or the course is finishing, start recording what you’ve been doing.
For about the last 2 weeks of the diet, write down exactly what you’re eating. How much of it, the protein, fat and carbohydrate content of the food and drink you are consuming and how active you are day to day
This is vital.
Knowing how many calories you are eating and burning on your diet gives you power.
Work out what you need to maintain weight. For a more detailed look at these ideas check out Mike Samuels blog (1)
First weigh yourself.
Take your body weight in pounds (kg x 2.2) then multiply it by 11 if you are completely inactive, 12 if you are inactive but go to the gym 2-3 times per week, or have a moderately active lifestyle, 13 if you have a moderately active lifestyle AND train 2-3 times per week or an in active lifestyle and train 4 to 6 times per week, or 14 if you lead an active lifestyle and train 4 to 6 times per week.
That is the number of calories you need to maintain weight.
Then multiply your weight in pounds by 0.8 to get your protein in grams, and multiply your weight in pounds by 0.4 to get your fat in grams.
To work out your carbohydrate intake you multiply your protein by 4, your fat by nine and add them together. Take this number away from your calories to find your carbohydrate intake in calories, and then divide that number by 4 to get the amount in grams.
This is how much you need to be eating to maintain weight. It takes 10 minutes at the start to work these out, but after that it’s plain sailing.
Slowly work back up to this number.
First things first, protein. This one is an important number. You need adequate protein levels to minimise muscle wastage, which will lead to you burning fewer calories at rest and looking more like a skeleton than the healthy glowing version of yourself you set out for in the beginning.
Slowly start adding food that will get you to this protein goal.
Add a little more each week until you are where you should be, with each passing week adding a little more carbohydrate and fat alongside it until you are content and satisfied or have reached your macronutrient targets. This will help stop any loss of muscle and keep the fat off while you get back to a state you can easily maintain.
How slowly you have to introduce and how much food you eat will be highly individual, but if you find yourself starving, speed it up a little, and if you find yourself putting on fat, ease off a bit. Moderation will turn your crash diet into something that lasts.
If you follow these 3 steps you can make sure that the fat creep never ever happens again! If you’ve gone through and been successful on a strict diet then you know you already have the will power to make this work…
Or you can save yourself the trouble and take the leap into personal training, but it costs money and is a lot of hard work and I make you enjoy food and exercise.
It’s up to you!
George Studd Fitness Training