By: Michael Beiter
Why do nearly 90% of people regain the fat they lost from a diet within 3 to 5 years?
The means of the diet were unsustainable.
Particularly the dose of dietary restriction.
"You shouldn't little or no carbs." - Keto.
"Dietary fat is bad for you, don't eat it." - Low fat diets.
"Gluten and sugar are your worst enemies. Avoid all foods with them." - Anti gluten and sugar craze.
"All fast and processed foods are garbage. Whole, unprocessed only." - Whole, natural food advocates.
"Meat only." - Carnivore.
"You can only eat within a 6 hour window daily." - Intermittent fasting.
Each one of these popular approaches introduces restriction that violates the minimum amount of restriction needed.
Basically, they say you can't do something you can and because of our natural tendency to want what we can't have we eventually cave and do exactly what they suggest we can't.
It's not a bad idea to think of yourself as a giant child. What do kids do when you tell them not to press that button or touch the hot stove? They press the button and burn their hands. We learn from experience and are naturally defiant.
Let's apply this to a couple of the diet examples above.
Keto says you can't have carbs. You white knuckle a low carb approach for months before finally caving to the smell of a Cinnabon while walking through the mall. The restriction is on all carbs and since you violated the guidelines you assess yourself as a failure and say fuck it while diving head first into all the carbs you skipped in the last months.
Intermittent fasting says you can only eat for a few hours daily. You skip breakfast for months until you are under stress at work and from home life and need to quench your hunger some morning. You eat breakfast and there goes your intermittent fasting plan.
We could go on for days. The point being, all of these plans introduce arbitrary restrictions to try and make your nutrition life easier. They actually add stress because they get rid of completely valid things to do like eat breakfast, carbs, fat, etc.
These arbitrary restrictions are greater than that which almost everyone needs: a philosophy that allows you to eat anything, whenever you want, as long as you manage the amounts.
If that level of restriction doesn't work then it would be appropriate to experiment with more restriction.
I can can count on one hand how many times more restriction has been needed in ten years of work with hundreds of people.
Let us avoid the over restriction and the near guarantee of failure by following the minimum effective dose.