SHOULD YOU BE DIETING NOW?
Updated: Mar 3, 2021
While there is truly no best time to start a diet or a lifestyle change, there is certainly less appropriate and more appropriate times for such changes.
Dieting is not inherently bad. Doing it without a long-term plan, without understanding how to transition out of a caloric deficit while maintaining your result is what leads to negative outcomes.
A part of dieting it smartly is knowing and recognizing when to diet and when not to diet. While there is truly no best time to start things (‘’you have just got to start’’) certainly, there less appropriate and more appropriate times for such changes.
The key to successful dieting (besides finding the best approach that allows you to maintain your results) is to look at it as an episode, a dieting phase or chapter of your overall fitness journey. Then look at your fitness journey as a story line and sync it with your life, the rest of the book.
As much as we like to deny it, most of us jump into (or stay with) dieting when we really should not, in fact, we would benefit more from taking a break from dieting in the form of reverse dieting or maintaining.
It’s probably best to NOT diet right now if;
You do not have the time or energy to track your intake and your biofeedback-If tracking (in any ways) seems impossible now, it might not be a good time to diet. The more data you are able to keep your eyes on during the process the better it is for your progress and for maintaining your results.
You have been dieting for a long time (over 12 weeks) with no intentional diet break or maintenance phase. Weekend feasts and ‘’cheat meals’’ are not diet breaks or maintenance phases. -The longer you are in a deficit the slower your progress becomes eventually. Similarly, the longer you are out of a caloric deficit, the better your body should respond to it once you get back to it. Diet breaks, maintenance phases, reverse dieting are just as essential (yet overlooked) to (maintaining-and who doesn’t want that) your goals as the work to get to them. You can only diet for so long, before your metabolism starts to slow down and then you start experiencing less than positive if not rather negative outcomes. Weekend refeeds (aka cheat days), or 2 weeks on a holiday do not count towards non-dieting periods here.
Your sleep quality, stress management, water intake, daily activity and current nutrition are not in check. -Without having these taken care of, dieting will create more mess than results. They are the foundations of your best health and fitness, build on them instead of masking the lack of them.
You have a rather difficult relationship with food and exercise or have unresolved challenges, negative feelings around or experiences with them. - Are you exercising to be able to eat (more)? Do you feel you need to do certain amounts of exercise to maintain your current weight? Are you afraid of certain foods? Do you have specific food rules?
You are stressed, overwhelmed, or just not in a good place emotionally or mentally- While a big lifestyle change might seem like the right step, I would recommend you doing it slowly and taking care of those areas of your life first.. It can start with making better choices for your health, it does not need to start with a caloric deficit.
You are sick or injured or, recovering from sickness or injury-Dieting can slow down or inhibit your recovery and slow down any future progress. Get well first, before you put additional stress on the body with dieting!
Dieting the wrong time or under less optimal circumstances is not only going to waste your precious energy and time but in the worst case scenario will damage your health-physically,mentally and emotionally and slow-down if not hinder future progress.
Consider your current situation, have a plan, stay consistent and be patient. The results will come.