Part 1: Restriction
In order to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit. How many times have you heard that before? Guess what… It’s 100% true! But it’s also void of all individual context and can lead to disordered eating behaviors.
The way I view restriction is like a pendulum… The more you pull that pendulum in one direction, the more it’ll swing back in the other direction.
We see this time and time again in the dieting world.
It goes a little something like this…
- Person wants to lose weight.
- Person goes on a diet.
- Person hears a calorie deficit is needed for weight loss.
- Person enters calculation online to find their deficit calories.
- Person starts losing weight.
- Person hits a plateau.
- Person reduces calories even more.
- Person gets hangry and eats everything in sight and gains all the weight back plus interest.
Nutrition Plan Reality
I wish this was an exaggeration but unfortunately, I lived this reality for many years.
In fact, my first nutrition plan ever had me on about 1600 calories per day. At the time I was pushing 200 lbs as a 5’10 male who was very active.
I lost weight. I binged. I gained it back.
It was a 6-week challenge and what I didn’t realize at the time was that most of us kept repeating these challenges.
The reason is that we kept restricting, binging, gaining the weight back and thinking that we needed more restriction.
It’s like the diet industry only has one card to play. And they want you to play that card over and over again.
The problem is that every time you play that card, it gets less effective than the time before.
Individual Context and Sustainability
The reality is that some form of restriction is necessary when we’re talking about fat loss. However, if we aren’t factoring individual context and sustainability, we’re not helping anyone.
In fact, we’re only making matters worse.
More importantly, restriction should only be a part-time job. The diet industry wants it to be your full-time career.
No one wants to talk about periodization because it doesn’t fit within the fad diet playbook.
Now we see templated programs that seek to double down on this “create a calorie deficit” mantra by spitting out numbers and meal plans that are so restrictive that they’re borderline dangerous.
Ok.. not borderline… Flat out dangerous.
Fostering a restrict and binge mindset. Creating an all or nothing approach. And ignoring individual context or long term sustainability.
Restriction is the perfect recipe for fear around certain foods, intense feelings of guilt and/or shame, living only in the extremes, and developing disordered behaviors around nutrition and exercise.
Not a fun place to be.
The Problem With Diet Programs
Most diet programs out there are basically a sugar-coated form of restriction. I shouldn’t say sugar-coated because sugar is probably not allowed on those programs! They may provide a short term result but can cause a lot of harm in the long run.
They completely ignore the individual. Which is the perfect segue into the 2nd way in which the fitness and nutrition industry has failed you…
…And that’s coming next!