There are many reasons why someone goes on a diet. Maybe you want to lose weight, feel better about yourself, have more energy, or you want to improve your overall health. We’ve all been there. We’ve heard about a diet on Pinterest, through word of mouth, or other social media platform and we can’t wait to try it out! You go through all of the diet rules and you are following them to a T. A few weeks go by and you’re not seeing the results you were promised or the results you wanted. You give up, fall back into your old habits, gain the weight back and maybe then some, you find a new diet to try, and end up with the same results. You get so frustrated because you can’t figure out what you were doing wrong.
Well I’m here to tell you. I’ve been there before too. I have tried most of the fad diets out there myself and was never seeing the results I wanted. Here are the 5 reasons why my diet wasn’t working for me, and likely why your diet isn’t working for you.
Reason #1: You are not Eating Enough Calories
Yes, we all know that in order to lose weight you have to create a calorie deficit. However, there is a fine line between the appropriate calorie deficit and an extreme calorie deficit. Your body requires a certain number of calories every day to perform basic functions such as digestion, breathing, blinking, pumping the blood through your body, etc. to live. This is referred to as your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and the calories needed to sustain the BMR is different for everyone. When your body is not getting enough calories to sustain your BMR, these basic bodily functions slow down to conserve energy, which in turn slows down your metabolism. This means that your body is burning fewer calories, so the calorie deficit you are trying to create with this extreme calorie deficit isn’t really as large as you may think since your body is no longer utilizing as many calories to perform basic functions as it was before. To find the perfect calorie deficit for you it requires some trial and error.
Most fad diets are created with a calorie deficit in mind, but most of these calorie deficits are extreme. When your body does not get enough calories, you may end up losing muscle mass instead of fat tissue. Muscle is very active tissue and burns a lot of calories, so when you lose muscle mass your metabolism slows down even further.
It is very important to feed you body enough calories throughout the day to sustain your BMR. If you are on a diet with a calorie deficit and you notice your energy is low, listen to your body and slowly increase your calorie intake each day. If you are hungry, eat. Don’t be proud that you are ignoring your stomach growling. This will be a trial and error process to find the calorie deficit that is right for you. Working with a registered dietitian is very helpful to help you find the perfect calorie deficit for you.