Published on May 16, 2017 at 13:23 / Updated on June 7, 2022 at 14:18

The return of good weather makes us want to regain our “beach body" and maybe lose a few pounds in anticipation of the summer, and this leads people to try all kinds of diets, sometimes very restrictive. However, they have a less-than-ideal effect: they’re effective in the short term, but ineffective in the long term!

But why do we gain more weight after dieting?

Your body goes into "starvation" mode when it isn't getting all it needs. It’s a defense that the body has created in response to a lack of food. Your body therefore becomes very protective and won’t let you use your fat reserves, because who knows how long it will remain in starvation mode. It will look for sources of nourishment elsewhere, such as in muscle reserves to remove the glycogen (quickly usable and easily accessible energy!), which will result in decreased basal metabolism. It’s therefore necessary to provide it with at least this energy supply.

A very restrictive 800 calorie/day diet would lower your basal metabolic rate by about 10%, which represents a decrease of about 140 calories/day. By resuming a normal diet or by going back to your old habits, you’ll therefore provide your body with more energy surplus than what you had before starting your diet. Since your metabolism gets slower after the diet period, that is, it requires less fuel to function properly, the difference between your daily need and the number of calories ingested may be greater and contribute to weight gain, often in the form of fat. It will therefore always be increasingly more difficult to lose weight following several unsuccessful diets since your weight has been playing yo-yo. 

Difficult, but not impossible!

Along the way, your basal metabolic rate will vary, as weight is one of the factors that affects your metabolism. You’ll find that it may be necessary to make adjustments by reducing your portions, otherwise the plateau (weight stagnation) awaits you!

You don’t need to completely change your eating habits to lose weight, as many believe. It’s difficult to maintain this discipline for the long term. Don't be fooled by fad diets or diets that seem too good to be true: they probably won't work in the long term (and by the long term, we’re talking about 5 to 10 years sometimes before you systematically regain all the weight lost!). For example, the Hollywood Cookie Diet is very far-fetched: it’s based on the consumption of cookies (you read this correctly) for lunch and dinner. These cookies are sold on the website of the doctor who set up this program…hmmm…You’re also allowed to eat a homemade supper as long as it contains no more than 500-700 calories. This diet is the very example of a restrictive diet.

In conclusion, you now understand that losing weight isn’t easy. It’s better to take it gradually and accept weight loss that is phased in over a longer period of time, but will be more effective. Always remember that the excess pounds have accumulated over a long period of time, sometimes over a’s unthinkable to try to lose them in a month!

Familiprix in collaboration with Hubert Cormier

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