Have you heard claims like “Lose 50 lbs in 50 days!”? We’ve been hearing lots of talk about dramatic 30-90 day weight loss challenges with strict food rules and restrictions, so we thought we’d join in on the conversation! If you’re looking to lose weight and you’re planning on starting something like this, here are some things we’d like to shed some light on for you.
(Please note that this is intended as information for folks who are interested in losing weight. We are not telling you that you need to lose weight or should choose it as a fitness goal. There are so many wonderful reasons to have fitness in your life and weight loss doesn’t have to have anything to do with it!)
First of all, if you were to start with a very restrictive diet right away and go hard for 1-3 months, you’d likely see a very dramatic change in your weight.
How a restrictive weight loss challenge like this might look:
Cutting out carbs and eating only lean protein and veggies
Cutting out anything with sugar or that’s processed and only eating lean protein and veggies
Only eating at certain times of day
Replacing meals with shakes and bars (Often sold as part of a weight loss challenge – hello, red flag…)
When adhered to, these tactics all work pretty quickly, because at the end of the day, these are all a means of reducing your caloric intake or cutting calories. So why don’t we all just do this forever and ever?
While this stuff works (and quickly), it comes at a cost. If weight loss techniques like this were easy, comfortable and sustainable, then we wouldn’t even need to have this conversation. There’d be no more fad diets, no more tips and tricks and waist slimming propaganda inundating our social media feeds.
So what are some of the downsides of these fast fat loss techniques?
Your body needs carbs for fuel, so if you cut them out dramatically, you might notice that your energy plummets and it might even be hard to make any progress in the gym, which is an important part of sustainable weight loss.
You’ll likely miss those restricted foods, not just for the energy they provide, but also for the deliciousness, happiness and comfort that the wonderful flavours, textures and communal eating experiences around them provide. And what’s the first thing you’re probably going to run to the hills for once that diet is over? Allllll those tasty foods. And you’re probably going to have a tough time stopping no matter how full you feel. (Speaking from experience over here as an ex-bikini competitor!)
Have you ever noticed how once you’re told something is off-limits (especially if it’s your favourite food or a go-to meal staple), it immediately becomes the only thing you can think about? Now if you’re doing this with foods, it doesn’t take long to start obsessing over those restricted foods and carefully orchestrating your life so that you can avoid them at all costs. This can actually become quite isolating and anxiety-inducing, and these side effects don’t always go away once the diet or challenge is done. (Again, speaking from experience.)
So once you’re finally free from your harsh diet and back out in the real world, what happens now? What’s the plan to keep the weight off? What habits have you learned to help you keep it that way? And therein lies the issue with this type of aggressive, short-term weight loss strategy.
The fact is, weight loss isn’t easy and there isn’t a quick 30-90 day fix for it.
Do you know what short term 30-90 day challenges ARE beneficial for? (in our humble opinion)
Breaking big goals down into small, manageable steps
Focusing your time and energy
Building lasting habits
Learning about your body’s needs and signals
Creating small, progressive adaptations to training
So how might the first step of a challenge like this look?
Ask yourself: What’s one manageable habit you could change or implement today?
That could be something like going for a 20-minute walk every day (or every other day). Or working with a trainer once a week for 30-minutes. Or cooking dinner 3 times a week instead of 2 times. Or adding in 1 extra serving of protein a day.
Start with just 1 manageable, doable, mildly uncomfortable habit, and work at it until it sticks. Work at it until you don’t even have to try or think about it anymore because it’s become so natural to you. Then, choose something else, and so on and so forth. It’s not going to be quick and it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be something you can implement, develop skills for and stick with to get lasting changes for life.
If you’re still not sure where to start, contact us and we’ll be happy to set up a consult so we can get started on making a small, buildable, lasting change!
*This is a fitness and personal training blog for information purposes only and shouldn’t be seen as health, nutritional, or medical advice. This site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or health advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any information you use from this site is at your own risk. Never disregard professional advice or delay seeking it because of something you read on this site.