Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Why Diets Cause Weight Gain

As many of you know, besides a runner, I am also a Certified Health Coach. As this blog says "everything in between," today you are getting the Health Coach side of me, because this topic has been weighing heavily on me as I talk to clients, friends, and acquaintances about the new year and goals.

Have you ever been so desperate to lose weight quickly for a special event? Do you so badly want to feel healthy and more energetic that you would drastically change your eating habits by restrictive dieting?  Wait! Before you start down this road, I want to talk to you about metabolism and deprivation. Did you know that dieting can actually harm your body and cause weight gain.

101 on Diets:

1. Diets are known for rapid, short term results, but maintaining weight loss can be difficult. Our metabolism acts as a yo-yo. Deprivation can increase hunger and cravings while decreasing energy. Each person needs a certain caloric intake for your body to maintain homeostasis and do it's thing while resting. This is known as the Basal Metabolic Rate which is responsible for 60-75% calories used daily. When you don't provide your body what it needs, it decreases your metabolic rate for survival. This also throws off your hormonal balance which affects your cravings, cortisol, and insulin big time! After a while you can begin to cause metabolic damage and digestive distress. 

2.Studies by neuroscientists show some diets actually lead to weight gain for 2 main reasons:

§  Due to body’s natural instinct to survive during times of famine. Low calorie intake does not necessarily lead to weight loss. When you do not take in enough calories to keep up with your activities and your body's normal functions, your body goes into survival mode and holds onto your fat storage. Several studies have shown a increase in fat storage with calorie reduction. According to these studies, participants with the lowest calorie intake had the highest body fat.

§  Metabolism slows therefore decreasing caloric and fat burning. This also causes a decline in energy and muscle fatigue, resulting in less drive or energy. Exercise intensity or duration is also affected.

3. Many go back to old habits once the "diet" is over because diets can fail to bring lifestyle changes.Diets can be restrictive and hard to follow or maintain.

4. Dieters can lose 5% to 10% of their weight in the first months of a diet, but more than 60% of dieters regain the weight back.

But wait, there is hope for increasing our metabolic burn safely! Check out a little bit more about how metabolism works and it's toggles by metabolism expert Jade Teta, co-founder of Metabolic Effect.

For more info on metabolic toggles, check out his blog post here

A healthy lifestyle should not be cumbersome or hard. Instead of restriction, focus on adding more whole foods to your "diet". Focus on a variety of foods/food groups without creating drastic restrictions.

For optimal results:

v Focus primarily on nutrient dense ingredients

o   Fruits

o   Veggies

o   Low-fat diary

o   Whole grains

o   Lean proteins

v Allow your self treats but eat them in moderation.

To read more about a hormonal approach to weight loss and metabolism check out this blog post by Teta, Hunger, Energy & Cravings (HEC): Is Your HEC in Check?

What are your thoughts? I would love to know!

Links for more reference:

Disclaimer: All information is for educational purposes only. I do not claim to diagnosis, treat, or cure any condition mentioned in this post. 


  1. Those statistics are crazy 60% gain it back and all that effort and restriction to lose it not worth it to me very informational thank you

    1. It is so not worth it, I wish people would find freedom from dieting.