Trying to lose weight is hard. Anyone who says differently has most likely never been on a diet or tried losing weight at all. Unfortunately, one of the most common mistakes people make when attempting a quick weight loss may not appear to be a problem at all, but it will sabotage your efforts in the long run.
The most commonly made mistake for people trying to lose weight is that they put themselves on what’s known as a deprivation diet, also called a starvation diet. A deprivation diet is one where you are eating far fewer calories than you should be eating on a daily basis.
Sometimes you can cut more calories than you should, or more than is necessary for normal weight loss, and it may not even be that obvious to you.
People can easily accidentally do this because they may have been so used to eating way more calories than they should be that when they scale back to what they think is a normal amount, they actually take it too far.
The problem with cutting too many calories from your diet is that in the short term you can see some fast weight loss and feel like your diet is going well, so you continue with what you feel like is a successful weight loss plan. A month or two into the diet, however, is when you will start to notice that things just aren’t working like they were in the beginning. Your weight loss has hit a plateau and yet you’re not eating any more than you were when you first started the diet.
The reason for this tapering off is that on a deprivation diet your body thinks it is being starved and eventually reacts by slowing itself down. Your metabolism slows to a crawl and what’s worse, it starts looking from within for more nutrients to burn for energy.
Although your body will burn some fat during this period, it will also burn muscle. Eventually your body’s muscle mass deteriorates to the point where the day to day burning of calories that your muscles used to help with is gone. This is when you hit a plateau.
The main danger in this situation is that you get frustrated with your lack of weight loss and give up. As soon as you start eating the way you used to before the diet, your body tries to store as much as it can as fat for later use (since it is in starvation mode) and you gain all of the weight back.
The answer is not to deprive yourself of the right amount of calories when starting a diet. A good way to go about things if you’re worried about this is to try and lose weight quick with baby steps. This is doing small things every day that are going to eventually get you where you want to be rather than making lots of changes all at once.
Whatever method of losing weight you choose, stick to it. Persistence and patience are keys for sustainable weight loss.