The facts on very low calorie dieting
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The term ‘calorie deficit’ is thrown around a lot, especially on social media, to express how simple weight loss can be. Moving more and eating less is the principle that is said to guarantee results.
But how far does this concept take you, and to what extent is it appropriate to eat less and less?
Very low calorie dieting (VLCD) has become a popular method to lose weight over the years, with few success stories and even fewer long-lasting results. We often have people messaging us asking for our help and guidance when it comes to dieting.
Here are some common misconceptions about the effects of very low calorie diets and fast rates of fat loss:
- you are guaranteed to lose muscle.
- your metabolism will slow down and go into ‘starvation mode’.
- you will gain more weight after a VLCD
- VLCDs are not sustainable.
Evidence and experience shows that these statements aren’t necessarily correct, and truth be told, very low calorie diets CAN work in certain circumstances with specific people – seen more often in special medical related cases.
However, you’ll rarely find us prescribe this extreme method of dieting to our clients at M10, as it’s uncommon for us to encounter anyone that actually requires it.
The reasons why we don't recommend VLCDs will now be explained.
VLCDs can have negative physical, mental and emotional ramifications whether weight loss is achieved or not. We come across many people who already have a poor relationship with food due to societal norms, the influence of social media and promotion from companies who sell diet related products.
At M10, we believe it is important to cultivate positive relationships with food and not negative ones. Therefore, our aim is always to steer our clients away from extreme diets, restriction and binging. We educated our clients to make positive, health focused decisions when it comes to food, providing self-sufficiency in the long term.
Adaptive thermogenesis is the process of our body slowing down (especially subconsciously), where even the smallest of physical tasks seems like an effort. What happens when you undertake a VLCD for a sustained period of time, is you will rest more than usual and move lazily to accommodate the lack of energy you’re consuming.
Suddenly your large calorie deficit has become much smaller if not non-existent! This is commonly mistaken for a “slowing down of the metabolism”, when really it’s just the slowing down of you. Try eating enough to feel energetic, satisfied and unrestricted - enough to keep a healthy relationship with food and reduce cravings. And more importantly, enough to fuel whatever activity you are required to do - then move plenty, train hard and walk more.
What We Recommend at M10
Behaviour change is the one variable that has proven to sustain weight loss over a longer period of time.
Therefore, aim to make small positive changes on a daily basis, instead of drastically driving calories down to an unreasonable level. Begin implementing simple habits such as;
1. Drink more water
2. Eat more fruit and veg
3. Manage your portion sizes
4. Don't solely focus on removing foods from your diet but make better and more sustainable choices that work towards your longer term goals.
Most importantly, choose to look after and love your body rather than punish it.
Would you like to change your shape and take your results to the next level? Get in touch about our personal training packages and working with one of the M10 team today.