Dieting is a process of changing our bodies. When we weren’t dieting, we were in a state of homeostasis where our bodies (and our brains) had settled into a comfortable rhythm of food in, food out and constant energy levels. The problem was, we weren’t comfortable with how we looked. SO…The remedy is to go on a diet and change our appearance, and/or our health. As such, the body will respond to the diet by undergoing a number of physiological changes. Some of them are quite pleasant, some of them are rather uncomfortable. The goal the successful diets I try to create for people is to maximize the good effects, while minimizing the discomfort. While this can, to a large degree be done, we are trying to push the body essentially to a physical state is doesn’t necessarily want to be in, and with that will invariably cause a bit of discomfort.
Beyond the shadow of a doubt the #1 reason that most diets fail is that the person makes negative changes to the diet protocol to deal with some form of discomfort….Either they eat because they are hungry, alter the diet because it interferes with their schedule, or maybe substitute in or out food choices to better suit their palate. The #2 reason is a lack of patience. Some may drastically cut food too much because they don’t see the scale moving quick enough to indicate what they are doing is working, thus shutting own their metabolism and leading to a state of mini-starvation which is not sustainable and invariably they soon after quit the diet.
Knowledge of what is typical and healthy in a diet, and what is not can right our minds and keep us focused on the task at hand. Below are five things that you can expect on any weight loss diet.
What you feel today may not be what you feel tomorrow – The body takes 10-14 days to fully adjust to any change in the diet. When we completely revamp our diet, our body I going to react and we are going to feel a certain way, albeit good or bad. The worst thing we can do in these situations is make changes to the diet based on how we woke up feeling that day. The chances are, with a little faithfulness and patience, the discomfort we are feeling now will right itself in a day or two.
You WILL get hungry sometimes- Always keep in mind that in order to lose weight, we MUST burn more calories than we take in. As such, our body will WANT more calories, and we will at times feel hungry. Some more so than others. Hunger is a function of two hormones in our body, leptin and ghrelin, which don’t necessarily correlate to our actual energy needs. In other words, we may FEEL hungry but not necessarily NEED food…sometimes our body is lying to us.
You WILL have times of low energy – As in the prior paragraph….We are in deficit, we are losing weight, and energy stores are not going to be high. Rest assured, over a few days our bodies will adjust to functioning on lower food intake, and that’s when the real fat loss starts….So look at tiredness as a direct function of fat loss. Some won’t get it at all, some will feel a bit tired t all times….this is part of doing something to better yourself, so tough it out. :
Some changes will seem counterintuitive – So you start a “diet” and two days later you GAINED weight. Or maybe you slip one weekend and have chicken wings and cookies and the next day you feel great and look amazing…..This is all part of typical body reactions as it compensates for changes it is receiving. As in point #1, don’t expect these to continue…Keep eating those chicken wings and cookies and the scale will climb, and you will start to feel bad again…Stick to that diet and eventually, (probably sooner than later) your weight will come back down and even further down as your body adjusts.
The scale will fluctuate – A much bigger factor on what we weigh day to day than fat loss or muscle gain is water retention. There are countless variables in how much water we hold in our body, hormones, sleep, electrolyte/sodium levels, overall hydration, glycogen levels and more all play a huge role in how much water we hold in our systems…and ow much water we hold in our systems play a massive factor in what the scale says….Use professional boxers making weigh in for example….A boxer may weigh in at 160lbs after cutting his water for a fight, then the next day gain 20+ pounds up to 180lbs or more, virtually all of this is just water manipulation. While we are not going to these kind of extremes, just normal water fluctuations wreak havoc on the scale. So don’t get discouraged if you weight a pound more than yesterday, it’s just water. To minimize this, always use the same scale, wearing the same amount of clothing, and at the same time every day. This will keep it somewhat consistent. Then weigh yourself just once or twice a week so you don’t drive yourself nuts overthinking your diet.
The human body is a complicated machine, and trying to overanalyze everything that goes on is futile. It’s always best to have a diet coach or someone outside of yourself to give you input on changes to your diet, as it can be hard to stay objective in the face of all these subtle changes.