I have said this in probably 100 or so of these types of articles, the more you diet (and the more extreme you diet) the worse you get at dieting.
This is not debatable, it’s a scientific fact.
It gets worse, as you age the more short cuts you take the more you end up harming your metabolism and health.
So that’s the discussion I am having, not whether or not that one time you didn’t eat for 10 days finally moved the needle for you because it didn’t do what you think it did and that’s what we are about to talk about.
After failing at diet after diet over the course of roughly ten years where just mixing in a salad no longer worked I tried virtually every diet out there.
Except the ones I am about to mention.
I know how desperate I was to get back to normal so I have a lot of empathy for people in this situation but even back then I knew there was a level that was TOO FAR.
That said, when you are broke and get a new credit card it’s tempting to run up a bill with some retail therapy. The problem is that once you max that out you aren’t LESS broke afterwards and that’s a great metaphor for what happens when people resort to extreme dieting.
So let’s start there, some of what I am about to mention is anecdotal but it will help you understand the consequences but first let’s define extreme dieting.
Anything where you are eating less than 800 calories a day, this would include things like cleanses and detoxes, HCG shots and any protocol that blunts hunger signaling. For fasting anything more than 48 hours in one week (will add a video below to explain why, in fact, I believe it may be one of the best dieting videos ever made, so make sure to check that out).
This would also include bariatric surgery clients (new and old). Just to be clear I am PRO bariatric surgery when it becomes a life saving decision but too often people are entering into these decisions without knowing the full facts.
It’s EXTREMELY rare to have non-responders to Eat To Perform, in fact, in roughly ten years the number is under five. That is pretty crazy when you think of it because that would make us the most effective dieting protocol that exists (which we are because the specifics matter).
Literally the only instances where we get non-responders are people super late in life that have been dieting sometimes earlier than their teens. That’s it, for most everyone else recovery is possible.
That said, recovery in your mind is different than recovery in my mind. If you are a 5’8” female looking to lose those “last 10 pounds” at 130 pounds it’s possible that genetically the sacrifice you would need to make is not what your body would prefer. So to be LEAN you need to build muscle OFTEN AT A HIGHER WEIGHT.
But that’s the minority of what I am talking about but those are the people that are susceptible to our previous article on extreme dieting and also the people that buy detoxes and cleanses. So that’s why I brought it up.
The vast majority of people that I see were people like me that dieted to the point where they weighed a bit less but were still obese. That’s when the nuclear option becomes THE OPTION.
What you often hear in situations like this is “I have literally tried everything” and they are almost always wrong. When you have literally tried every short cut imaginealbe, every internet or magazine diet or like I mentioned above, literally surgically shrinking the size of your stomach. That’s not everything, that’s every short cut, there is a big difference.
Said simply, health is a lot more than weight and I get it, if you spent your life “unattended” for years like I did you get desperate and you become more susceptible to desperate messages. So friends that won’t publicly talk about the things they are doing start messaging and you are open to those messages because you feel desperate.
Let me ask you this?
What decision have you made in your life that worked out better from desperation?
I am not saying it can’t but not only are the odds against you the BEST odds aren’t even in your favor.
When you look at the transformations from these kinds of protocols what you normally see is someone that was obese and then after a certain amount of time they obviously weigh a lot less.
Won’t you do not see is what happens when their weight starts to come back because without something that looks VERY MUCH like an eating disorder most gain it back with interest.
As an example, it’s not uncommon when doing extended day fasting to actually weigh more after a long fast and the more you do it the worse your metabolism gets.
So why then do you see so many drastic transformations from these extreme protocols.
That’s simple, the desperation works until it doesn’t and then what you are left with is a metabolism that no longer works and the worst part is that if you talk to most of them they never really got “there”.
And that’s the point, when you strategically eat less in phases while moving you actually INCREASE your chances of getting “there” because you can go farther with food and activity than you can just eating nothing but here is the most important part.
You have more control. Seeing your weight move 7-10 pounds in one day is mentally debilitating and that’s exactly what happens because unless you are under a doctor’s care you are going to eat the most calories available to you. It’s not uncommon for a person that hasn’t eaten for a week to consume 10,000 calories in ONE DAY!
No amount of willpower is going to stop that. In fact, no matter what side you are looking at the end game looks like an eating disorder, either binge eating or worse.
The reverse is true for weight loss surgery. Because the size of your stomach is smaller you literally just can’t eat and everything you used to be as a human being changes. Like I said, if someone has explored moving and eating less in phases and it becomes a life or death issue I support that desperate decision but here is what you don’t hear about that….
You just fundamentally changed everything about your life and you have virtually no chance to get back to normal.
And that is sort of the point of this article.
What you choose in desperation isn’t often the best choice for your desired outcome. It’s not unreasonable for a woman that is 210 pounds or even up to 250 pounds to be healthy with no need for medications. I have seen it many times, now I totally get that person might not prefer to be that weight but if you took the sacrifice and desperation and sat down and built what you think would be your best life a desired weight should be the last thing on that list. With that said, with focus BETTER is completely possible and with EXTREME focus you can land in a spot you could not have imagined. The things I do today and the body composition I have now is not something I could have ever dreamed of having and I got there just gradually getting better with periods of extreme focus slowly chipping away at the problem.
There are so many more components of health that have to be considered.
Lastly you will live longer taking a more gradual and less desperate approach. Extreme Diets crack THOUSANDS of eggs (eggs in this instance being people’s lives) to make a three egg omelet and that’s just not good enough for the sacrifice.
If you can be patient and stay focused you have a much better shot getting to where you want to go long term….
But the odds are stacked against you either way, you have to know that going in so that you don’t under estimate the challenge you face.
Like I mentioned above, no amount of credit card debt makes you less broke. You have to fix the CORE issue and until you can address that problem you won’t make it. Statistics show this out.
The problem we have is not that people eat too much, it’s merely a symptom of a much larger problem and no amount of desperation in a weak moment fixes that.
And every time you push that nuclear button your health is drastically affected. That’s the truth you might not want to hear but need to hear.
Here is the video I mentioned above by Dr. Steven Phinney of MIT as you can see in the comments below the video it ruffles a few feathers because people don’t often want to hear the truth about the long term effects of extreme diets.