The amount of clients and just people I know in general turn around and tell me they are on the new “21 day transformation” or the new “3 week fat burner” they have ripped out from a random lifestyle or fitness magazine or read online.
Let me just make it clear from now… DO NOT USE OTHER DIETS!
Everyone’s diet needs to be personalised to that person. Everyone is unique; you have a different metabolic rate, exercise schedule, lean body mass, physical and lifestyle activity level and so on. When it comes to diets, there is no one size fits all, so why would anyone think another person’s diet would work for them?!
So, as some people find out, what would happen if you were to follow some of these crazy diets (most of the time aimed at females)? Yes, you lose weight.
“But that is my goal, so how is that bad?”
I am going to give you a really good example from one of my clients who actually went through one of these diets. For the clients protection let’s call her “Karen”, she needs to eat 2000 calories every day to maintain her body weight. This means that if she ate that amount every day she would stay at the same weight.
However Karen is not satisfied with her current looks and wants to “tone up”, so she decided to lose some “bodyfat”. Not the right way, but let us see what happened.She found a plan in one of her fitness magazines and put it to use straight away.
The diet plan that she was working on had her eating only 1000 calories per day. This means she is eating 1000 calories LESS than what her body is burning, every day. This is great in theory, but the bodies anatomy is smarter than that… and you should be too.
So Karen ended up losing 5lbs in the first week, 3lbs in the second and 2lbs in the third. So she in 3 weeks lost about 10lbs. Great right? For now.
Let’s take a little closer look at what really happened.
She first lost a significant amount of weight by dropping 1000 calories out of her diet, most of which were carbohydrates. This means her body had to use up a lot of glycogen to keep her blood sugar levels high. Each of those molecules of glycogen is bound to almost 3x as much water by weight.
If you haven’t figured it by now, she pretty much lost a lot of water weight.
Another thing is that, since the human body is so smart, Karen’s body ADAPTED, yes, bodies do that. (Notice how the numbers started to decrease as the weeks went on)
Her body realised that she wasn’t getting enough calories that she usually does, so it cut out some of the tissue which is the most energy costing to maintain… MUSCLES!
This is hitting two birds with one stone by eating away her muscles to keep her burning less calories since she is taking in less. Efficient and effective.
To satisfy the calorie needs and also cutting out its need for calories in the future, the body is able to “eat up” the muscles to get the aminos it needs.
So ultimately Karen probably lost about 5lbs of muscle, 2lbs of fat and 3lbs of water at the end of her 3 weeks.
The WORST part is, since her body is now accustomed and adapted to a 1000 calorie intake and is also burning that much, when she goes back to taking 2000 calories per day again, that will be 1000 calories MORE than what her body needs now, so she will end up with more fat that when she even started the diet AND less muscle mass.
“SO WHAT CAN I DO TO AVOIDE THIS?”
Gradually decrease your calorie intake moderately while increasing your physical activity. ALSO the more physical activity and training you do, the more calories you will need, so actually over time you will need to eat MORE not LESS, and still burn fat!