How many times have you attempted to lose weight only to fall short?
For many people it is extremely challenging to stick to a strict dietary and exercise program for more than a few weeks. The good news is research now shows that having intermittent breaks from your diet may actually help you keep the weight off in the long term.
A study receiving a lot of attention found weighing yourself daily and hence adjusting your food and exercise intake helps you achieve a clinically significant weight loss over a two-year period if you take frequent breaks from your diet. This doesn’t require a fixed calorie-counting or structured exercise regime, but it does require recording your weight daily and monitoring the trajectory over time.
This is referred to as the “Caloric Titration Method”, where weight loss is achieved in small amounts. First the individual loses one per cent of their body weight, and is then encouraged to maintain their new weight for about a week. This period of weight maintenance allows the individual to eat more or perhaps exercise less than they would while trying to lose weight.
The goal is then to achieve another decrease of one per cent in body weight, followed by another “break” (weight maintenance). This routine would be followed until the final weight-loss goal is achieved.
Watch: A simple, delicious green smoothie recipe to try at home. (Post continues after video.)
This approach is challenging the body to redefine its baseline body weight by having frequent breaks along the way. As with all weight-loss approaches, it doesn’t work for everyone, but if it’s two to three kilograms of weight you are trying to shift, this may be a very suitable option that is a proven strategy in the longer term.
Weigh yourself at the same time each day, but look at weight-loss trends over the week or month. Day-to-day fluctuations can vary significantly with different types of food. These are a reflection of change in body water content rather than fat mass (for example, carbohydrates bind more water than proteins).
Focus on making small changes (amounting to deficits of 100 calories per day) such as: skipping dessert a few times per week; occasionally using a meal replacement for lunch or dinner; and eliminating snacking on pre-packaged (and often energy-dense, nutrient-poor) foods most days of the week.