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Chronic Dieting and Focusing On Rapid Weight Loss Sets You Up For Failure

By: Taylor Empey ISSA – CFT, SFN, SET, Elite Trainer Level I

I have discussed this topic with numerous clients and individuals over the years when discussing the negative impacts of chronic dieting and unhealthy, unsustainable dieting techniques.

It is not uncommon that chronic dieters have a higher likelihood to regain lost weight after undergoing dieting techniques as compared to a non-dieter.

Studies have shown what happens when undergoing a specific dieting technique and how some individuals suffer from lower resting energy expenditure (REE) after engaging in certain unhealthy dieting techniques. This essentially means that as the participants lose weight, they may be losing some of the weight from muscle mass, which requires more energy to sustain the tissue than fat mass. Essentially, the more muscle you lose, the lower metabolic rate you will have. If you lose more weight from muscle than from fat tissue your REE will decrease further than those who lose more weight from fat vs muscle.

“In one study, three years after participants concluded a weight loss program, only 12% had kept off at least 75% of the weight they’d lost, while 40% had gained back more weight than they had originally lost.”

I have encountered many individuals who have suffered from these or similar outcomes when attempting to lose weight. Individuals are more likely to gain unhealthy weight and some gain more unhealthy weight than they originally had before they began their diet.

Our society is so heavily transfixed on focusing on ‘weight loss,’ and doing it as quickly and easily as possible. Because of this motivation, people make poor health choices in order to reach their weight goals including disordered eating behaviors, fully engaging in eating disorders, adopting poor nutrition habits, participating in numerous short-term unsustainable diet programs, engaging in excessive high intensity exercise and workouts, all while failing to address the real issues in their lives that lead them to be unhealthy in the first place.

We as a society (especially fitness companies and marketers in the industry) need to stop focusing on ‘weight loss,’ and start focusing on healthy sustainable fat loss, lean muscle development, behavior change, healthy lifestyle practices, and a healthy psychological and emotional relationship with fitness, food, and supplementation.

Grodstein F., Levine R., Troy L., Spencer T., Colditz G.A., Stampfer M.J. (1996). Three-year follow-up of participants in a commercial weight loss program. Can you keep it off? JAMA Archives of Internal Medicine.

Spritzler, F. (2016). Do “diets” really just make you fatter? Authority Nutrition.

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