Why cutting down calories won't help you lose weight on the long term

Posted August 25, 2021

We've all been there: having a desire to look our best, we end up following the latest diet we found on the internet. At the beginning, when our motivation is fresh and our willpower is strong, we seem to have results. We strictly follow the plan and we lose a few pounds. We tell ourselves that this time will be different. This time we'll get to keep our weight loss for good.

Yet, every time the same thing happens: our results begin to level, and the pounds we lose become fewer and fewer, until the weight loss process halts and we don't lose any more pounds even though we sticked to the diet. At that point, almost everyone quits and gets back to their old unhealthy habits

Why is this happening? What is the explanation?

The explanation lies in understanding how your body functions

When you drastically cut down your calories, at first your body responds as expected: it uses stored fat to convert it to energy. But after a while, your brain begins to register a problem: hunger. So it puts your body into 'survival mode'. This means your body decides you need to store some fat and hold on to it, in case you might need it later. Your thyroid gets dialed down, and so, your metabolism slows down.

Several studies show that low-calorie diets can reduce the number of calories your body burns by as much as 23%. Also, this lower metabolism can persist even after the low-calorie diet is stopped. This is the most plausible explanation of why more than 80% of the people regain the weight they lost during the diet

And these numbers are true for healthy people

When you have hypothyroidism, your metabolism is already slowed down. If your thyroid is underactive, and you are not receiving proper treatment, weight loss can become almost impossible, even if you diet and exercise.

So, what can you do?

First, if you suspect you have a problem with your thyroid, you should go to the doctor and get your tests done, so you can receive proper medication. The sooner you find out what the problem is, the sooner you can fix it.

Replace strict results-oriented dieting for a lifestyle change

If cutting down calories didn't work so far, maybe you should change your approach completely. Instead of being focused on immediate results, you could try focusing on making a permanent change. You could gradually replace unhealthy food habits with good ones.

How can you do that?

The 'secret' is to take it one step at a time. You set up a realistic target for yourself, and then gradually work towards it. You start with small changes at first, such as eliminating sodas from your diet and taking a walk around the block. And then, you work up to more advanced changes, such as exercising at home every morning.

The key is in the power of habit

Once you manage to incorporate a lifestyle change, after a while it becomes integrated in your nature and you will do it effortlessly. Like brushing your teeth. If you manage to stay without sodas, after a while - let's say 2 weeks - you won't be missing it at all.

We know 'change' seems like a scary word, especially when your energy is low, but that's why we are here: to guide you and keep you motivated

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