The Official Newsletter of Bodyfatguide.com
updated: July 17, 2008
How to Rescue
a Blown Diet

by Ron Brown, author of The Body Fat Guide 

"Ron Brown is a certified fitness trainer who doesn't have an inch of flab on his body. He'll tell you what you can do to become fit and trim too." 
TALK TO AMERICA,
Washington DC


IMAGE YOU wish to cross a river on horseback. Soon after starting your crossing, you fall off your horse and into the river! Two of your options of recourse are:

a) Climb right back onto your horse and continue across the river to the other side.

b) Abandon your horse, return home and plan on crossing the river some other time.

Falling off your horse and into the river is like falling off your diet. After you have blown your diet, you have the option of either forgetting about your diet until another day, or rescuing your diet and climbing right back onto it. However, as this article will demonstrate, some types of blown diets are much easier to rescue and climb back onto than others.

The most difficult type of blown diet to rescue and climb back onto is an unbalanced diet, such as a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, or a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet—any diet that simply eliminates or restricts certain types of foods without monitoring the balance between your calorie intake and calorie expenditures.

After you have blown this type of restricted-food, unbalanced diet, how do you climb right back onto it? Usually, you allow yourself to continue bingeing on forbidden food, and select another day to start your diet over again. The result is that you have wasted time in progressing toward your weight-loss goal, and you may have even backslid by regaining weight! 

Even worse, you may try to rescue your diet by purging through self-induced vomiting, taking drugs or by over-exercising.

Scientific studies verify that many dieters have an all-or-nothing attitude about dieting, an example of what health psychologists call the abstinence-violation effect. The moment these dieters feel they have slipped off their diet, the more likely they are to abandon their diet altogether and eat as much as they like (Herman & Mack, 1975; Herman & Polivy, 1980; Ruderman, 1986). Researchers thus conclude that the cognitive control, i.e., mind control or willpower, of dieters over their diets is very fragile. However, one limitation in these studies is that participants usually followed the restricted-food type of diets previously mentioned.

Now, consider the advantage of a diet that you control by modifying the balance between your calorie intake and calorie expenditures. As long as your calorie intake is less than your calorie expenditures, you will lose weight. There are no restricted foods on this type of diet. You can include any food you like as part of a well-balanced diet as you progress toward your weight-loss goal. 

Of course, you can still blow this type of diet by eating beyond your calorie intake allowance for the day. However, experience shows it is much easier to rescue this type of diet and climb back onto it without losing any time in progressing toward your weight-loss goal. Here's how:


Redistribute Your Calorie Intake

Let's say you have selected a rate of weight loss and an activity level that requires your daily calorie intake to total 1500 calories. However, one day on your diet you find you have gone over your 1500-calorie intake allowance by eating an extra 500 calories. To rescue your diet, all you need to do is to consider those extra 500 calories as part of your next day's calorie intake allowance. In other words, you began to eat your next day's calorie intake allowance one day ahead of schedule. 

Continue on the next day by eating the remaining 1000 calories of the 1500 calories that you originally allowed for that day. In this way you have simply varied the distribution of your daily calorie intake over two days: 2000 calories the first day, 1000 calories the second day. But, because the total amount of calories you have eaten for that 2-day period, 3000 calories, remains the same as the sum of two days of dieting on 1500 calories per day, your weight loss 


References:

Herman, C. P., & Mack, D. (1975). Restrained and unrestrained eating. Journal of Personality, 43 647-660.

Herman, C. P., & Polivy, J. (1980). Restrained eating. In A. J. Stunkard (Ed.), Obesity (pp. 208-225). Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders.

Ruderman, A. J. (1986). Dietary restraint: A theoretical and empirical review. Psychological Bulletin, 99, 247-262.

 

after two days is the same as you originally planned. You haven't lost any time in progressing toward your weight-loss goal. It's as if your blown day of dieting has vanished!

This redistribution principle also applies if you have under-eaten and have lost lean body mass while dieting. Simply add the deficit of calories back to your daily allowance on the following days to give your depleted lean body mass a chance to restore itself as you continue on with your diet. This will help you avoid the dreaded Loose Skin problem caused by losing large amounts of lean body mass while dieting.

Thus you see the powerful advantage over unbalanced diets of knowing how to monitor and modify the balance between your calorie intake and calorie expenditures. This balance is called your energy balance. Knowledge of how to measure and modify your energy balance provides you with the ultimate dieting flexibility and cognitive control, allowing you to make the proper adjustments to recover from a blown diet and speedily progress toward your weight loss goal. This knowledge will also show you how to avoid regaining weight, something unbalanced diets can never do! Where can you get this energy balance knowledge?

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