Emmet Rushe gives a guide on weight maintenance - the un-glamorous side to dieting
Dieting is thought of as 2 parts.
- Losing weight
- Gaining weight
That is usually how the conversations go about it and that is usually where they stop.
However, there is another side to dieting that no-one really ever talks about.
This is the un-glamorous side that involves staying the same weight.
Hold on there, don’t turn off your computer just yet, you may want to hear what comes next.
One thing that you need to know about fat loss, is that you CANNOT be forever on a diet.
Yet, when you ask people how many diets they have been on over the past year, you will get answers that range from 1 – 10 different diets that have been tried, failed and moved onto another.
Your body does not want to lose fat.
It likes fat.
It has many uses for fat.
So when you start on a diet to lose fat, you need to have everything set out to give you every advantage possible.
You also need to have realistic goals and know what your plan of action is when you reach your target.
This is where weight maintenance comes in, and this is where people usually get stuck once the diet ends.
If you weigh 70kg (11 stone), your calories for weight maintenance would be around 2300 calories.
When people finish their diet, they are usually afraid to increase their calories from fear of gaining weight again.
When you start to increase your calories back to maintenance levels you may gain some ‘weight’, but don’t panic.
This is to be expected.
You will be increasing your carb intake along with your calories, so you will gain some from fluid increasing and from your muscles being fueled from the extra carbs.
The one thing you need to realise is that this ‘weight’ is NOT BODY FAT.
You also need to realise that your body will thank you for the extra calories.
- You will have more energy.
- Your training will be better.
- Your mood will be better
- Your libido will increase
- If you have had an irregular menstrual cycle due to constant dieting, this may return to normal, or even start again if it had stopped.
- You will also be giving yourself a mental break from worrying about your weight.
All of the above are great reasons to take phases where you stay the same weight for periods of time.
Maintaining your weight for periods of time can also leave you in a better position if you decide to diet again to drop some more body fat.
You may find that you are able to diet on higher calories and not have to go to the extremes in order to drop fat.
If you are on 2300 calories and you drop calories by 300 calories per day, that leaves you dieting on 2000 calories per day.
How many of you reading this have lost weight eating that many daily calories?
I would wager not many.
This is another reason why maintaining your weight for periods of time can be great.
The more calories you have to eat per day, the more food choices you have to play with while losing fat.
How long should you maintain your weight for?
You can do it for half the length that you dieted for.
So if you spent 6 months of this year dieting or sporadically dieting, you can spend 3 months at maintenance to allow your body to recover and be in a better place to lose fat again.
Like I said above, this is the un-glamorous side to dieting that no-one talks about, but is a very important part of dieting.
If you struggle to lose weight, and have been on every diet going for extended periods of time, this may be the one part of the diet that could help you to reset and finally lose weight when you start again.