What kind of diets have you tried?

At the start of working with someone, one of my first questions for people is, “what kind of diets have you tried before?”

It tells me a lot about your as a person but more than that, it paints a picture on how far you’ve come when it comes to your dieting lifestyle.

For most people in North America, hiring a nutrition coach can be the last resort after trying every fad diet under the sun from ketogenic, intermittent fasting, cleansing, carnivore, tape-worm….the list goes on and on.

What that means is that for some people, you’ve been dieting for years on end. What it physiologically likely means is one suppressed or tired metabolism with mediocre or non-existent results.

Sound familiar?

Maybe it’s time for a break up with the diet.

The main reason is that when you go on a diet with the intention of weight loss, you inherently have to restrict calories. This is the case no matter what dieting strategy you try to implement or what you read on the internet. It’s SCIENCE.

Over time, your metabolism starts to decline in order to maintain a level of homeostasis within the body. It’s why after starting a new diet you typically see some initial results but then stall towards the end. So, either you exercise even more, try a new diet or suffer in silence.

In order to keep that weight loss going, breaking up with your diet in a controlled manner is the best result. This means temporarily increasing calories until your sleep, energy and hunger levels all return to normal.

For those who are just about to embark on a diet, this is why it’s important to input diet breaks within your diet. Science has demonstrated through the MATADOR protocol that fat loss is more sustainable and constant when this type of approach is initiated rather than continuously trying to diet through restricting calories.

What scientists did with the MATADOR study was compare two different groups, one who continuously restricted calories and another who imposed diet breaks every two weeks for two weeks, to see which group had more fat loss and how it affected their metabolism.

What they found was that those who dieted consistently lost similar amounts of weight to those who cycled back and forth from dieting and maintenance, but that the metabolism of those who had diet breaks was less suppressed than those continuously dieting. Add on to that, those who took diet breaks also had more sustainable results when researchers followed up with them months later.

Does this mean everyone should follow the MATADOR protocol when looking for fat loss?

No, not necessarily. However working with a nutrition coach will allow them to use your biofeedback (energy, sleep, stress etc) to determine when the right time to impose a diet break would be and how long it should be.

This way, you’ll be able to continue to on your weight loss journey without wrecking your metabolism and end up at a final destination that you’re happy with and more importantly, you can sustain.

At the end of the day, most of us have been dieting for months to years or for as long as we’ve been in the gym. Your body needs a break and so do you.

When it comes to your goals, it will actually help too.