How can we break the cycle of restrictive dieting?
“Cut carbs, dairy, sugar, flour…if you want to lose weight”. This is usually how a diet starts right? The only reason you should be cutting out any specific kinds of foods (EVER) is if they have a known direct negative impact on you. If it’s sickness, nausea, indigestion, bolting, allergies etc….You, yourself need to know they are negatively impacting you and not listen what others say that could cause the same symptoms. You can remove certain foods temporarily and then add them again. If your problem disappears and then appears again once you introduce them, you will know these foods are the issue. That being said, for most people there is NO need for fat and weight loss to cut any food groups entirely.
Usually we start off a diet with removing certain food groups entirely: sugar, flour, dairy, carbs, fats and as a consequence in the first couple of weeks we see tremendous results in terms of weight or fat loss. We feel like it’s working. After a while, you notice that your weight is not going down anymore and you wonder why is that. Now here people usually either go to a more extreme version and start cutting more (Never do that!) or they give in and start eating in abundance more than they need all the foods they have cut in the first place (dairy, sugar, flour, processed foods…). All of a sudden they only want to eat chips, ice cream, cookies, cakes, donuts etc…What happens next? Because they deprived themselves so much of their favorite foods, they can’t stop. They keep eating and eating until they can’t breathe anymore. All of a sudden the scale goes up again and in some cases, they gain more than what they lost. Frustrated with the result, they go back to the restrictive diet. This is the vicious cycle of restrictive dieting. How can you break it?
First of all you need to know your maintenance calories and how much do you spend on activities. From that number it is better to subtract some calories from food and some from sports and general movement. Once you have a rough idea, make a sustainable plan. What does that mean? It’s a plan that actually includes ALSO your favorite foods that you should never ever cut out completely. It means you eat healthy nutritious meals most of the time and then have some space for your favor cake, ice cream, pizza with friends etc. That way the chances of binging are slim or close to zero.