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Occasional Fad Dieting to Maintain Weight?

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Old 01-08-2009, 08:39 PM   #1
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Default Occasional Fad Dieting to Maintain Weight?

I know not to go on "fad diets" to lose weight and by fad diet I don't mean any eating plan but things like super low-calorie diets and other things that are not sustainable. But how about using a fad diet once in a while to maintain your weight once you reach your target? Do you think it would be sensible? For instance once you get down to your target, what if for just one day a week you ate super low calorie? Like only a few hundred calories. If it was only one day a week I think it would be easy to do and it would work out to doing that for 52 days a year or almost 2 months. But since you're not doing it continuously I don't think you would suffer the side effects like slowering your metabolism, health effects, etc of a really low calorie diet.

I ask because I had lost a lot of weight and maintained it for several years between the ages of around 17-25. However after that I had stopped working out, wasn't eating great, and put the weight back on. I know when I reach my target this time I can't go back to those habits, but I also know that maintaining is difficult even when you are employing good habits. So was wondering if doing something like a fad diet one day a week could help you maintain.

What do you think?
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Old 01-08-2009, 09:36 PM   #2
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No. I do not think that is sensible. I maintain my 70 lb weight loss exactly how I lost the weight in the first place. I plan my meals, I food journal, I weigh myself once a week, I measure foods and I concentrate on eating healthy whole foods and avoiding processed foods.

Works great. My 4 year weight maintenance anniversary will be Feb. 15.
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Old 01-10-2009, 11:12 AM   #3
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I agree with Glory's simple no.

Why undo all the good work (and habits) you've learned while torturing your body with such low cals?

When I am up a bit (like after these past holidays), I eat a bit lighter (never dropping below 1,200 calories!) and increase cardio a bit until the weight is off but never, ever starve. Fortunately I've completely turned around my "less calories is more" mentality and realize my metabolism will suffer (not to mention my mood! lol) on crazy fad diets even for just one day.

Another thing I that works for me is to (a) not avoid the scale or (b) realize my pants are snugger and no the dryer wasn't on extra high when I have been eating over maintenance calories. It's much easier to get back on track nipping it in the bud quickly.

For me, it's a constant learning process and if you incorporate little changes and ways of thinking, as you near your goal weight hopefully these things will become an automatic way of life as well as maintenance :-)

Much success to you!
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:03 PM   #4
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95% of maintenance is doing exactly what you did -- with nutrition and exercise -- to lose the weight. The other 5% lets you have a little leeway with your calories for say, one treat meal a week. Unfortunately, it would be impossible to undo six days of damage with one low-calorie, fad diet day.

For me, I work hard at maintenance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and twelve months a year. Don't be surprised if it's that way for you too. But it's totally worth it!
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:26 PM   #5
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You should always try to stay above 1,200 calories. I remember someone on here once making an analogy... your metabolism is like a stove- the more fuel it gets, the hotter it burns. The key is striking a balance between the calories you burn through exercise and the calories you consume. Eating low calorie, even for a day, will just throw your body out of whack. The idea is to develop healthy eating habits that will last the rest of your life. You shouldn't need low calorie days. Trust me.. I've been through the yo-yo dieting, and everything else. The key to success is finding something you can life with every day.
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:34 PM   #6
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What everyone else said.
No - this is not reasonable. You need to change your lifestyle so that you can keep the weight off. That means eating well and exercising from now on. Meg is right - there is now a little wiggle room, but only a little.

The great thing is, at least for me as a calorie counter - I LIKE the way I eat now. I feel good, have energy, have reshaped my body - Life is GOOD as a maintainer
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Old 01-10-2009, 04:06 PM   #7
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I've been reading more and more that crash dieting, even in the short term, can result in significant and perhaps even permanent metabolism reduction. And, at least for some folks, each crash diet apparently further lowers metabolism. Whether and how the metabolic effects can be "undone" hasn't really been established, but it certainly has made me realize that I can't "afford" to risk lowering my metabolism any further (I've pretty much destroyed it with decades of fad dieting).

Is one or two days out of 30 or 300 going to reduce your metabolism? That question hasn't really been answered yet. How many and how often triggers the metabolism shift? I really think it's better to be safe than sorry, to eat sensibly as much healthy food as you can and work over the long term, rather than the short term. Short term, crash diets are alluring, and can even be addictive, because of the promise (and occasional deliverance) of quick weight loss - but the quick effects are often an illusion. The short term reward of quick weight loss is overshadowed by the long term effect of reducing metabolism (which makes another crash diet all the more tempting).

The prospect of lowering my metabolism any further is more than enough of a motivator for me to do this and ideally keep doing this once I reach maintenance the sensible way.
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