Dieting Time Lines
When I released my first body transformation book, The 4-Week Body Blitz, I briefly addressed what I wanted Blitzers to do when all was said and done.
However, once the book had been out for a few months, I realised that the 2 pages I had written should have filled an entire chapter. Without a doubt, the post 4WBB question was the question I received the most.
In my new book The Fat Loss Blitz (available for pre order on Amazon now), I do go into much more detail re when to start a diet and when to call it quits. I talk at length about why this is important and also instruct on how best to do it.
However, when there are points that I want to ram down people’s throats like this one, I also like to throw up a blog!
So, please continue reading for my thought on dietary time lines…
*please note the below does not apply to those following intolerance based diets, or to those currently in / recovering from a diseased state*
- IF YOU HAVE BEEN ON ANY TYPE OF ‘DIET’ FOR A PERIOD OF MONTHS OR YEARS AND YOU CAN NO LONGER GET YOUR BODY TO RESPOND, IT IS TIME TO STOP…
If your diet has been restrictive in any way, be it carbs, fats, calories or solids, and you have been struggling to get a response for a period of months with no success, it is time to stop.
This is because when you restrict your nutritional intake via macros and calories, your body can only respond for so long before it adapts. Initially, fat loss will occur. Usually, muscle loss will follow. All in all, your lean body mass will come down. Once this happens, you have a brand new dietary start point that requires a brand new calorie deficit…
The way to get that loss moving again is to slightly decrease your calories once again for another few weeks. While this is completely fine for a period of time (gradually over the course of a few months), as your low intake stretches further and further out, there does come a point where there is no further to go, you will stop responding and you will have to come up with a new plan.
Studies show that 6 months is when the majority of ‘dieters’ hit both a mental and physical wall, and at this point, you have 2 options (potentially aim to do both in succession)…
- Take a ‘diet break’ – When you have plateaued at a low calorie intake for more than a few weeks, raise your calories by a significant amount for 1-2 weeks, before continuing on in your deficit. This will help you mentally and may well refuel your metabolic and hormonal responses, getting you continued results over the course of the next few weeks / months.
- Begin your ‘reverse diet’ – If you have been at a low intake for a period of months / years and you haven’t been responding for months, it is time for your body to recover. You need to slowly start adding in food (calories) each week, over a period of months, before you can even think about starting up another diet. Initially, you will probably see some impressive aesthetic progress. After a few weeks, you will probably find that you are feeling better in your own skin and if you train, you will see huge improvement in your sessions. Eventually, you will start to regain some body fat and THIS IS A GOOD THING! Your body needs body fat to function at OPTIMAL LEVELS. You cannot start a diet if you have minimal body fat to lose and you cannot start a diet if you haven’t given your body a BREAK beforehand.
Please do not think that dieting is forever, it is not, it does not work forever and you will not be happy in a deficit forever.
Please do not be scared to let your body recover, to feed it, to fuel it, and to see it take its more natural shape.
There is a time and a place to push, and there is a time and a place to pull back.
The more cyclical you can be with ‘dieting’, the more long term your results will become.