Blog 5 - Drastic Dieting

I hear and see so many people that are now dieting that the first drastic thing they do is cut out carbs, or cut out food altogether, or replace it with shakes. To me, this is very extreme, and sometimes very unnecessary.
The first thing to look at is how did you store extra body fat in the first place? A good place to start is lifestyle, has your activity level slowed down, so you're now consuming calories you are no longer burning. The other negative about this is muscle wastage. The old saying goes “if you don't use, you'll lose it” will apply, and as a result, your overall metabolic rate will decrease. Remember the more lean muscle tissue you have, the faster your metabolism is, and your body will burn more calories, even at rest. It'll also become more efficient at doing so too.
Treats can also creep in, again this will add calories into your daily diet, cause insulin spikes, which in return will store extra calories as fats! Sugary drinks, even zero sugar alternatives, and adding sugar to drinks can play about with the bodies insulin levels too.
So here are a few simple ideas on how to make changes. I always think it's best to write things down so you can look over them, and see them clearly. So create a diary, and write in each day exactly what you eat and drink, how much, and the amount of exercise you do. This way you'll have a good overview of what's going on.
Now whatever you’ve discovered from your new diary, you can now work out what you’ll need to change. It could be as simple as increasing the amount of exercise you do, either by frequency, or intensity. Or maybe reduce the amount of sugar, sugary snacks or sugary drinks you are consuming. Again this doesn’t have to be a drastic cut, as I’m a big believer in progression. So if you’re having around 80g - 100g sugar per day, reduce it down to 60g - 70g for the first 2 weeks, then down to 40g - 50g for weeks 3 and 4. This way your body won’t go into complete shock, and you get those nasty sugar cravings, or even worse, your blood sugar levels drop, and you feel all shaky and light headed. Also, you can look at your meals to see if they are balanced out with a good source of complete protein, complex carbohydrates, green vegetables, and fats? Planning your meals ahead of time means you can get in the ingredients and cook nice meals, rather than having nothing in the fridge or cupboards, as this will lead to either not eating and skipping meals, ordering a takeaway, or going shopping whilst hungry, in which case can lead to convenience foods being bought, and a few naughty treats. I myself like to prepare 2 to 3 meals in one go, as this saves time, and also there is a meal ready for your convenience. You can keep these fresh in the fridge, or even freeze them if possible.
So before you do anything drastic like cut out carbohydrates, juice all your foods, or go to the gym twice a day for 7 days a week, look at your lifestyle first, and see what you can adjust from there. Remember small changes every week can bring long-lasting sustained results in the future.
Stay fit and healthy,

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