Dieting too much causes the metabolism to burn fewer calories and is the most common reason I see clients not reaching their fat loss goals.
Chronic dieting over time creates a scenario in which muscle mass is lost and fat is regained. This means metabolic rate decreases and your body is burning fewer calories.
For women over 35, they are losing muscle mass and if they are not doing things like strength training and eating adequate protein this decline will occur.
Couple this natural aging process with chronic dieting and this becomes the perfect scenario for gaining weight despite perhaps no change in nutrition and eating habits.
I see many women over 35 in my weight loss coaching program who are in this scenario.
The problem is these women are under muscled and under fueled from chronic dieting.
Unfortunately, fad diets like Weight Watchers, Optavia, Nutrisystem, BeachBody, Atkins, Noom, extremely low-calorie doctor led programs etc. continue to teach women to restrict food.
The restriction over and over again is what is damaging metabolism and women's mindset around food.
If you are in a scenario like this, then the answer is not to further restrict food. The answer is to spend time restoring the metabolism, building muscle and improving your mindset around food.
No more good and bad foods. No more on and off track. No more restricting and binging.
Instead, learning to live your life without dieting in a sustainable way and learning how to eat in a way that supports metabolism, mindset and hormones long-term!
Hear more about this and how it's done in the podcast episode.
In this Dish on Ditching Diets Podcast Episode, You Will Hear:
- How Chronic Dieting Makes You Fatter Over Time & Damages Metabolism
- Why Being Under Muscled and Under Fueled Is Making It Harder To Lose Weight
- How All Fad Diets Are Merely Restriction Packaged In A Different Way
- Why Your Mindset and Relationship With Food Needs To Change
- What To Do To Support Hormones, Metabolism and Mindset Long-Term
Related Dish On Ditching Diets Podcast Episodes
- The Diet Mentality
- 7 Dieting Mistakes That Are Hard To Learn
- 5 Thoughts Stopping You From Losing Weight
- 3 Things I Stopped Doing To Lose 80 Pounds
- The Dangers Of Oatmeal
- #1 Most Dangerous Diet
Are You Dieting Too Much Podcast Transcript
Hello friends! I’ve got an emotionally charged topic for you. Are you dieting too much?
Most likely the answer is yes if you are listening to this podcast especially if you’ve been dieting on and off for some time and not seeing results and feel like you’re banging your head against the wall.
Now before you freak out and shut off the podcast, I want you to hear me clearly.
If you’ve been dieting for some time and you’re not seeing results, I’m going to explain to you why in this podcast and why dieting more or dieting harder is not the answer and what the solution is.
Before we jump into today’s topic, I’d like to thank those of you who’ve reached out to me about my father’s passing.
He passed the morning of September 14th, 2023. For those who were not aware, he battled early onset Alzheimer’s disease for 10+ years.
He was diagnosed around the age of 60. I swear this disease the most heartbreaking thing.
To watch them slowly deteriorate, forget themselves and forget their loved ones it truly feels like going through a death then once they actually do pass, you feel like you’ve lost them all over again.
I am relieved he is no longer suffering, but it’s still hard and I still have my moments.
So, I greatly appreciate those of you who’ve reached out, sent love, kind notes and condolences. They did not go unnoticed. I’ve had quite the year of loss.
As I mentioned in a previous episode, my boyfriend who lived with me for 7 years I discovered was cheating with a married woman at work a few months ago.
We split up over the summer and because of that, I spent the majority of the summer with my parents and was able to spend a lot of one-on-one time with my Dad.
Had we not split up, I never would have spent all that time with my father and I’m very grateful for that.
I kind of wonder if the universe kept him around to help me get through that tough season of life.
Even though my father wasn’t mentally there, I was still able to go to him which brought me a lot of comfort during that time.
As soon as I was feeling better and got my footing back, that’s when my Dad passed. But I’m very grateful I got that time with him this summer.
And if you follow me on Instagram, you have seen me during these last few months continuing to prioritize my health.
I’m out walking, training at the gym, eating my protein and fiber.
I just know that even when I’m going through hard things those things always make me feel better.
I’ve also always had the mindset that I’m so lucky I get to do those things.
That I’m physically able to move my body and able to choose what I eat. My father didn’t get to choose.
The disease chose for him and there is never a day that goes by that I don’t take for granted the fact that I get to do things to support my health.
I hope you embrace the same mindset. Life is short and diseases do happen. You just never know.
Nothing is guaranteed and I want to set myself up for the best health later in life possible. So anyways, on that sad note let’s talk about dieting.
Kind of another sad topic in my opinion.
The common thing I see women over 35 struggling with is the inability to lose weight.
They’re dieting, restricting food, eating very little and complaining their metabolism is slow and that they can’t lose weight.
Some of them even tell me they’re even eating healthy and do cardio, but just can’t seem to lose stubborn weight.
Ok, I’m going to tell you something that’s going to blow your mind. You don’t need another diet.
You don’t need to restrict more. You don’t need to do more cardio.
In fact, those things are making it harder for you to lose weight and they are damaging your metabolism.
The number one problem most women over 35 have is they are under muscled and under fueled. I see this repeatedly in my nutrition practice.
These two things are the exact reasons why these women are stuck and cannot lose stubborn weight.
The reason they have this problem is because they keep doing restrictive diets.
Each time you do a diet you are reducing your metabolic rate and losing muscle mass. Let’s say you do Weight Watchers.
You lose 20 pounds. Let’s say 12 pounds was fat tissue and 8 pounds was muscle tissue. You always lose some muscle when you diet, that is normal.
But that is also why when you are in a dieting phase, we do certain things like strength train and eat enough protein to prevent as much of that from happening as possible, which most individuals do not do when they do some of these traditional diet programs.
So, let’s say 12 pounds was fat and 8 pounds was muscle.
A year later you gain the 20 pounds back. You didn’t gain 8 pounds of muscle and 12 pounds of fat back. You gained 20 pounds of FAT back.
Now you’ve lost previous muscle tissue (remember more muscle tissue on your body equals burning more calories at rest) and your metabolic rate has decreased.
Now you are burning fewer calories.
This is why you do a program like let’s say Weight Watcher’s and maybe the first time it works, but then you go back, and it gets harder and harder, and the weight loss is slower and slower.
It’s because every time you diet you are effectively slowing your metabolism which is why we don’t diet forever, and it is not recommended to always be pursuing dieting.
There are consequences to hormones and metabolism when you chronically diet. Not to mention to your mindset and relationship with food.
Couple this chronic dieting with the fact that females lose muscle mass year over year starting around the age of 30.
If you are not actively doing things to retain muscle mass and you’re on the perpetual dieting hamster wheel a lot, you’re setting yourself up for a terrible metabolism and making it harder and harder over time for you to reach your goal.
This why individuals get to a point where they’re counting calories or tracking macros, and nothing seems to be happening.
It’s because you need to focus more on repairing your metabolism and less on dieting.
The diet industry is a 60–70-billion-dollar industry and the statistics show that 95% of people who do a traditional diet regain the weight within 1 year.
Only 5% of people keep the weight off 3 years of more.
That’s a depressing statistic yet people keep pumping money into these diets. I talk about this in my free weight loss course for women over 35.
If you have not watched that course, I highly recommend you do. The link is in the show notes.
Let’s talk through more about the problems with the traditional diet programs out there and I’ll circle back to repairing metabolism.
Traditional diets like Weight Watchers, Noom, Atkins, BeachBody, Optavia, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig. These trendy programs grade you pass or fail. You hit your points; you pass. You hit your calories; you pass.
You cut all your carbs; you pass. You eat all your Optavia or Nutrisystem packaged foods; you pass. You fall off the wagon one night and eat a pizza; you fail.
You go on vacation and get out of your routine for a week; you fail. You get off track one weekend; you fail.
Doing these restrictive diets shows no understanding of human psychology.
It has been well documented that when you give yourself a pass-fail grade based on food choices, when you have you this mindset of pass or fail or labeling foods either as good or bad, it’s been shown to lead to struggling with your weight and body imagine.
So, individuals who view food as this is a good food or this is a bad food, those individuals struggle more with maintaining a healthy body weight and develop disordered eating tendencies.
So, then they get off the traditional diet at some point and they go back to their old eating patterns and lifestyle patterns, and they gain the weight back.
These individuals nearly always at some point overeat all the foods they restricted doing these diets or maybe, they did a calorically restrictive diet like only eating 800 calories and after they lost the weight, they were so hungry and deprived they began eating out of control and gaining the weight back.
Whatever the specific scenario or diet was, basically you restricted severely then overate or over consumed calories.
Sometimes individuals don’t even recognize they’ve done this.
But this type of dieting is way too extreme and it’s the worst possible thing you can do for your metabolism.
These diets are basically taking you from one extreme to the next.
They also reinforce the all or nothing mindset of you getting a pass or fail grade.
If you want to create the worse possible scenario for your psychology and physiology – it would be this.
You’re doing so much mental damage and you’re doing so much metabolic damage.
The last thing you want to do to your metabolism is stretch it to either end of the extreme.
Going from one extreme is bad enough and it should be very short lived but doing that constantly and yo-yoing from one extreme to the next is extremely damaging and will cost you long-term because you have to undo this damage before you can lose weight.
You’re basically delaying your ability to get to where you want to be with your physical results, losing body fat and your relationship with food and of course, this is going to cause stress when it comes to eating, exercise, your nutrition, and your mindset.
How can you maintain your results when you keep literally doing the restrictive thing that sets you up for long-term failure?
The worst thing you can do is drastically deprive yourself, drive your metabolic rate down, drive your muscle mass down, drive your energy down, drive your hunger and cravings up, damage your mental health.
This puts you in a prime position to binge, store fat and regain all your weight.
Do you know what a slow metabolism does?
It stores fat and it’s very easy to overindulge because your body wants to get you back to homeostasis.
So you’ve now created a scenario where you’re obsessing over food, sometimes obsessing over tracking and calories, you’re being super rigid, you’re viewing food as good vs. bad, you’re giving yourself a pass or fail grade...
You’re slowing down your metabolic rate, you’re doing things that’s causing you to lose muscle mass, and you’re doing things causing yourself to binge and overindulge and pack on body fat so why is so much money spent on diets and why is the success rate so low? This is why!
Noom, WW, Optavia, BeachBody, Atkins, Nutrisystem, doctor led 800 calorie programs, what are they doing?
They are literally focusing only on restriction. The more you repeatedly restrict, the more you are damaging your metabolism and lowering your metabolic rate.
You are burning fewer and fewer calories because you keep trying to restrict by doing one of these diets.
That is what all these programs are doing, and we literally keep buying them and we think somehow, a different program with a different name or packaged differently is going to be successful.
Optavia is feeding you less than 1200 calories a day. Let’s not even discuss the fact that their food is pre-portioned packaged processed crap.
Weight loss injections. The studies show a 17% loss of body weight which includes muscle, water, and tissue loss.
One year after on average the people in the study I recently red re-gained the weight back.
Because once you go off the injections you start to eat again and in the meantime, you’ve done nothing to help your metabolism.
And by the way, I’m not anti-weight loss injections. There is a time and place for them, but they are being wildly abused and distributed in my opinion.
But do you see the trend here? All these things including injections are focused on how restrictive you can be.
The injections all they do is suppress your hunger, so you eat less.
But it’s the same thing as eating less with processed food being shipped to your door from Optavia or doing an 800-calorie doctor led program.
It’s the same thing with eating less with WW points or eating less by cutting out carbs or eating fewer calories doing a doctor supervised weight loss program.
All roads with all these things lead to eating less. It's the same thing dressed differently.
Everyone focuses on the restriction. That’s my point!
Focusing always on restriction literally puts you in the best position to regain weight, disrupt hormones, increased stress and more cortisol, decreased leptin, increased ghrelin, insulin resistance, estrogen dominance.
Now throw in the mix that you’re a woman over 35 – peri-menopausal or menopausal – and you’re already more sensitive to stress, you’re already going through hormonal changes.
It should be no surprise you are in the situation you are in and struggling to lose weight. The process of always pursuing restriction sucks!
There’s got to be a process of going back to maintenance, there’s got to be a process of building the metabolism and muscle which all these traditional diet programs fail to do because they only focus on restriction.
Can you imagine programs like mine where they talk to you about actually supporting your metabolism and supporting your hormone health and actually making this a lifestyle, building sustainable habits, building muscle and strength, building an improved mindset and doing all the things that will help you maintain your results long-term?
But no. We don’t want that. God, forbid we take the time to invest a year in something like that because a year is too long.
Can’t do that! Yet round and round you go on the dieting hamster wheel. Lose the weight and gain it all back.
Then after you do restricting dieting several times you do a number on your metabolism, your metabolic rate tanks, you’ve lost muscle mass and you’re like, but I don’t understand nothing works for me.
Nothing works for you except the thing that works for everyone except you’re too stubborn to actually take a year or more to do it because you’re impatient and you have the mindset that you’re only making progress if you’re losing weight.
This mindset will literally have you trapped, never changing, and constantly chasing restrictive diets.
Lift HEAVY weights and don’t diet for one year while eating adequate protein. I guarantee a lot will happen with your body.
But most individuals never give themselves time to do it because it takes too long, and the scale isn’t going down.
You will forever be unhappy with your lackluster results if this is you.
If you want permanent, lasting change you’re going to have to spend time undoing some damage and I don’t know how long it’s going to take.
It’s different for everyone. I would plan at least a year.
That means you’re not going to be able to restrict your calories and starve yourself like you’ve done in the past.
You’re not going to be able to simply increase the amount of cardio you do.
Sorry… You’re going to have to learn how to support your metabolic health, how to eat enough calories to support your metabolism, what nutrients support your hunger, hormones and metabolism, how to build muscle to support your metabolism. You’re probably going to have to eat more food.
You’re probably going to have to increase the amount of quality foods you eat – more protein, veggies, fruit and fiber.
Doing this, however, will improve your consistency because you’re not starving yourself.
It's much better to be consistent with 1700 calories than inconsistent with 1200 calories.
You don’t have to feel like a prisoner to your diet.
You don’t have to be miserable to lose body fat.
In fact, if you do feel miserable, restricted, deprived, obsessed, or stressed out by your nutrition those are red flags.
That should tell you what you’re doing isn’t going to be sustainable or something’s off with your mindset.
Tracking calories or tracking your food is to ensure you are getting enough to support hormones and metabolism.
You’re fueling your body adequately enough to support permanent changes and to ensure you have the flexibility to enjoy your life.
That means you don’t have to be perfect.
You don’t have to follow a pre-determined food list.
You don’t have to avoid exercise like Optavia tells you to and like they tell you in one of these calorie restricted doctor led programs.
You don’t have to eat 1200 calories of processed, packaged crap. Sustainable change should feel empowering.
Your nutrition should help you feel strong with plenty of room to live your life.
It's interesting how people get themselves overwhelmed or say they just don’t have the time.
Yeah, because if you always assume the way to lose body fat looks like BeachBody containers, tracking WW points, eating super low calorie on Noom or a doctor led program or eating processed packaged crap from Nutrisystem or Optavia, getting a pass or fail grade then it makes sense why you assume you just don’t have the time.
It makes sense why you’re reluctant to do a program and get coached because you assume it’s going to be restrictive like THAT.
My clients are always surprised.
They tell me they can’t believe how much easier it is and hard they were making it out to be before.
Sure, they have to learn new skills and mindsets in the beginning but once they get over that challenge, they realize how difficult they were making it out to be.
It’s the ones who stop restricting and get over the PTSD from their past diets who get the results.
Oh, you mean if I actually start taking care of my hormones and metabolism, and stop disrupting homeostasis in my body so dramatically, I can actually get sustainable results?
My body actually responds?!? What a shock!
You mean not staying on the diet hamster wheel will help my metabolism, mindset and hormones? Yes! That’s what I’m saying!
That IS the solution to this frustrating problem you have.
Listen, you cannot be a chronic dieter and not have consequences to metabolism, mindset and hormones and that is the place many of you are in.
The first time you restrict it typically works well for people. After that, it gets harder and harder.
That means your approach much change from restricting to building muscle and building your metabolism.
When you do that, you’re helping your body burn more calories at rest. You’re setting yourself up for easier fat loss down the road.
But it takes time. It requires a different mindset and skillset than you are used to. It also requires you to learn how to get out of dieting.
Many people go into a fat loss phase and restrict their calories and they stay there forever. You must go back to maintenance.
You must get out of the calorie deficit. If you do not go back to maintenance, your body adapts to your calorie deficit and that becomes your maintenance.
Tell me which one of these traditional diet programs teach you how to go back to maintenance? Oh, none of them. What a shocker!
If you are stuck, it is very likely you are under muscled and under fueled.
I keep seeing more and more women over 35 in my nutrition practice falling into this category which is why I’m sharing this with you today.
If this is you, stop trying to restrict.
Work on the things I discussed today and if you can’t do these things on your own, then get a coach or nutritionist like me who can help.
Under muscled and under fueled. It’s time for a different approach, ladies! Get strong. Get lean. Get fueled and have more energy.
That’s the name of the game and I promise you will feel so much better when you take this approach.
You’ll also have more flexibility with what you eat.
The downside is it takes time to undo the damage to your metabolism and to get the physical results which will be the biggest barrier to you doing what I’m sharing today.
As always, the choice is yours.
Continue banging your head against the wall, having a terrible relationship with food and restricting OR start learning how to support your metabolism, hormones and mindset.
The choice is yours!
I hope this episode was helpful for you.
If you have been enjoying the podcast, I ask that you take a minute to leave a 5-star rating and review in Apple podcasts and that you follow the show so you never miss an episode.
Ladies, I will talk to you soon!