Why you don’t need to stick to your diet 24-7
Losing weight can be a tricky beast. Maybe you’re a late-night snack junkie, who frequently wrecks their day’s progress (and make their skin look old) with late night calories. Or maybe that strict diet fail happened, because the diet is too strict. Or maybe you just haven’t found the right tactic to keep the weight off for good.
Fad diets come and go, and maybe you’ve found one that works for you. But there might be a good reason to ditch it for a few weeks.
Don’t stress about your strict diet fail
According to Today, taking periodic time off from your diet might just be the key to weight loss that you’ve been looking for. A study recently published in the International Journal of activity involved 51 obese men split into two separate groups with two separate eating regimens.
The first group would strictly follow a diet which would slice their daily caloric intake by a third for 16 straight weeks, while the second group would follow the same diet, but would take every other two weeks off from it.
The surprising results saw the men in the second group lose 50 percent more weight then the men in the first, despite dieting for half the aggregate time.
The results reflect the body’s habit of adjusting appetite to respond to calorie intake; when the body starts taking in fewer calories than usual, it increases your appetite and also works to conserve more energy, leading to fewer calories being burned.
Why varying your diet is good for your metabolism
The adjustment is what study co-author Nuala Byrne calls a “famine reaction.” The study was conducted by the University of Tasmania, where Byrne is a professor.
“Our body senses the change in energy intake… and brings out the artillery to defend our energy stores,” Byrne told Today, “This doesn’t mean we can’t be successful in long-term weight loss, we just need to have a better understanding of how the body works.”
After the study was completed, both groups of participants gained back some of the weight lost, but the group who took part in intermittent dieting managed to still be, on average, 18 pounds lighter than their continuous dieting counterparts.
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Originally published as This Is Why Ditching Your Diet (for a Few Weeks) Will Help You Lose Weight on ReadersDigest.com.