I have a very hard time striking a balance between "dieting" and enjoying life. I find that with calorie cycling, you can enjoy the foods or dishes you might not normally enjoy on a regular "diet" and still improve your health. The goal is to consume the same amount of calories per week as you would on a low calorie diet, but with alternating high- and low-calorie days.
I've recently become a convert to the ways of calorie cycling and it's working wonderfully for me. Here is how I got to this place!
After initially losing 20 lbs I've now been struggling over the past 6 months to push past a plateau/rut.... whatever you call it. I'd been counting calories, staying in my range, putting in the fitness minutes etc. and basically losing/gaining the same 5 lbs. I tried all kinds of suggestions to break the plateau and nothing would really work. I became frustrated and the whole experience became a vicious cycle. Then I read a blog from another BLC member (check it out yourself www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
). She discussed intermittent fasting and how it works for her and many others.
This got me thinking.... I'm the very last person to jump on a fad. Whether it be fad diets, clothes, hairstyles. I've always kind of moved to the beat of my own personal drummer. Doing what feels right to me. The next step my scientific mind required was investigation.
First thing I did was watch the BBC documentary by Dr. Michael Mosley... Here's a link if you are interested.... (it's about an hour)....
My interest was piqued....
So next I looked up Dr. Krista Varaday who is Assistant Professor of Nutrition at the University of Illinois-Chicago. She deserves credit for most of the research on this topic. She has done extensive research over the last 10 years. I read lots of different studies and scientific data. I was beginning to be impressed ....
I really liked the idea of losing fat and not muscle (which in turn keeps the metabolism going), lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and cancer risk. I even went so far as to speak with our family DR about it all. She had heard of the research (luckily she's young, open-minded and remains very up to date on current research) and although she repeatedly expressed concern that I should listen to the cues my body gives me when "fasting" she "gave me her blessing".
So I've jumped on the bandwagon so to speak... I started with restricting my calories to below 1000 for one day a week... it wasn't so bad actually... I slowly upped my days and now I calorie restrict for 3 days a week. The other 4 days a week I eat sensibly, I don't restrict myself AT ALL but I also try to keep within the principles of healthy eating. Lots of fruits, vegetables, whole foods, and little to no processed CRAP. I've found as I've been going this for longer it gets easier and easier.
I've been doing this for almost 2 weeks and I've lost 4 lbs so far and broken the plateau I was on. I've rarely if ever lost more that 0.5 lbs a week before. I weigh less now than I have since I got pregnant with my first child about 6 years ago. I'm excited and plan to live some form of this permanently.
For me the health benefits are what I'm interested in. I have 2 little kids that I want to be a Nana for their kids.... Losing weight as fat, (not muscle) is an awesome byproduct.
So if you are in a rut, and regular daily calorie restriction just isn't cutting it for you anymore, why not do some investigation of your own.....
There are so many websites and resources out there to give you information... google: Alternate day fasting, every other day diet, calorie cycling.