You know trends I’m talking about. They promise fast results via extreme restriction. These include juice cleanses, very low carb or fat, super low calorie, clean eating, meal replacement shakes, doing cardio every single day and the list goes on. You may successfully lose the weight, but can you keep this lifestyle going? Nah. You’ll most likely gain it all back plus more because you can’t sustain the unhealthy regime. It’s not your fault! Our bodies weren’t meant to be deprived like this! I used to buy into this stuff, but not anymore and neither should you.
Why these diets don’t work long term
- Juice cleanses: You may lose several pounds during a juice cleanse, but it’s mostly from water retention. This type of diet isn’t fulfilling and deprives you of real food.
- Very low carb or fat: Realistically not sustainable long term because carbs and fat are great and recommended for a balanced diet. If you are physically active, carbs and fat are very important to use as fuel. If you deprive yourself of carbs and fat, you will most likely find yourself craving them and may be more prone to binging and eating too many calories.
- Super low calorie: Not sustainable, unhealthy long term. Extreme calorie restriction can also slow down your metabolism. You may lose weight in the beginning but then hit a plateau because your body feels threatened and fights to maintain equilibrium.
- Clean eating: This sounds good in theory and we should all be focused on eating whole fruits and vegetables. But eating ONLY whole foods is not realistic long term. Instead, focus on 80% of your diet coming from nutritious foods. But remember: there is a time and a place for pizza, cake, chips and donuts!
- Meal replacement shakes: Not sustainable or satiating. Who wants to drink all their meals?!
- Too much cardio: If you like cardio, by all means, do it! But don’t do it with the primary intention of losing weight. It is most likely not realistic to think you can maintain an extreme cardio regime long term because life happens.
So what DOES work for sustainable weight loss?
The most effective strategy for long-term, healthy weight loss is pretty basic: Energy in (calories you eat) vs. energy out (calories you burn). In order to lose fat, you must expend more calories than you eat. Also, focus on these basics:
- 7-9 hours of sleep per night
- Strength/resistance training 3-5 days per week
- Prioritize protein at every meal
- Prioritize fiber
- Limit calorie-dense drinks
If you’re interested in losing weight and keeping it off long term in a healthy, sustainable way, check out my nutrition programs.