The World’s Hardest Diet
Every now and then, I will have a client so clearly articulate something that I have spent hours, weeks, months mulling over re: fitness goals.
Had one of these moments following a goal setting workshop with my members pre-lockdown. We did some group exercises on goal setting and planning, then I caught up with everyone to make sure they were clear on what they need to do.
One of my female members (and this is not unique to her), recalled how she has spent most of her adult life losing weight, and then regaining it. I agreed, I said this is extremely common, and I believe that in a lot of instances, my clients don’t need me to tell them “how to diet” – most women I know are extremely literate in restrictive diets….. they need me to coach them on how to come off the diet, and maintain a healthy weight.
She said – “Yes! Maintenance, it’s like, the world’s hardest diet” 🤣
And I’ve been thinking about that statement ever since. So I decided to blog about it, because I think that it will resonate with some of you, if not many of you.
How many times have you dieted/restricted really hard, let’s not go into detail about the methodology, but any sustained effort to reach a particular bodyweight – and how long did you maintain it for?
Is it because you’re hopeless, unmotivated and lack self control unless you have a particular reason to lose weight? Not completely. Not only does your body have a biological drive to regain some of the weight lost up to 1 year after weight loss, but – in my opinion, many of the methods used to reduce weight lack a key element. Education.
I do things the hard way with my clients. But it pays massive dividends long term – because they no longer have to rely on me, or anyone, to structure their nutrition choices.
No meal plans, no supplements, no rules.
I spend most of my time educating my clients on the ins and outs of fat loss and energy expenditure/requirements. The results are sometimes slower than a straight up detox, removing food groups etc etc. But they stick.
I have a PT client at the moment who is trying her best. But all we’ve had is a 1.8kg loss over 8 weeks. Compare that to her friend who has decided to go down the meal replacement pathway who has lost 8kg so far in the same timeframe.
Who will be more successful?
Well, my client might feel like a bit of a failure now if we’re purely talking numbers. But when we look at the research, she’s way ahead.
She’s combining a moderate caloric deficit with a programme of consistent strength training. The research shows that these are the methods that stick. They’re just not instantly gratifying. She’s doing the work, it’s taken a while for a few truth bombs to hit home, but we’re at the tipping point. She is taking ownership…..and this is where the magic happens!
Conversely, her friend who has chosen purely the restrict with no exercise and no support option, statistically, will regain more body fat when she finishes the meal replacement programme, and will have lost lean tissue due to taking a calorie restriction only approach with no training.
So what’s the answer?
The only diet that works, is the one you can stick to. You can buy all the books and plans that you like, but it means nothing unless you can do it long term.
Yes, there is a time and a place for calorie restriction, but far too often I am working with women who are perpetually on and off the diet wagon.
One of my VIP clients recently lost 10kg and people are now asking her which diet she is doing…. she’s a little frustrated, because she’s trying to explain, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change. The thing is, we spent 3 months working together to get her to this point – she can’t explain that to acquaintances in a few minutes.
But I’m not taking the credit, she did the work, and I will continue helping those who are willing, and getting them off the diet wagon, one woman at a time x.