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Many women still work on the basis that a calorie deficit view of their food intake is the only and best way to lose weight, and fast. Which is undeniably going to gain results in the short term. However, could it be that this approach may actually result in increasing your chances of gaining more weight post diet and create problems maintaining a healthy and stable weight in the long term?

Extreme dieting is when calories are cut to incredibly low amounts that are below the number of calories that your body needs just to function, without doing any additional activity.  Such an approach to weight loss can have many possible negatives, some of which are listed below:

1. An increase in appetite

2. A decrease in metabolism

3. Create an unhealthy attitude to so called 'good' and 'bad' foods

4. Food cravings

5. Unstable blood sugar levels

6. Reduced energy

7. Encourage binge eating

8. Increased feelings of guilt around high calorie foods

Taking this approach to weight loss could in fact be priming your body for post diet fat gain and could make your body capable of storing even more fat than it was before you started your diet.

And so, we have explored the science behind this method of weight loss to uncover the truth about the long term losses, and gains!

Just to support vital body functions each and every day, with no activity whatsoever, our bodies need a certain number of calories.  These help us to breathe, move, think, generate new cells, contract muscles and circulate blood.  This is how we maintain a healthy body and mind. This number of calories needed is called our BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). And will be different for each of us.  Which is why it is so important to understand and be aware of this value before embarking on any calorie reduced diets.

If you cut calories below your BMR for more than a day or two, you run the risk of slowing your metabolism and could reduce the number of calories your body burns by up to 23%. Which studies have shown explains why 80% of people who lose weight through extreme calorie restriction go on to re-gain the weight.

There is also the matter of your body being designed to survive times of food deprivation by becoming primed for fat gain once food consumption increases. This is because soon after the end of your calorie restricted diet, when you are most likely to binge eat due to an increased appetite following a period of deprivation and hunger, smaller and sensitive fat cells are often made in the body to reverse these effects and this can make your body capable of storing even more fat than it was before you started.

On average we can have between 10 to 30 billion fat cells in our body that shrink when we lose weight because we create an energy deficit which prompts our body to use the energy stored in our fat cells. However, they are not eradicated from the body entirely which means if we overeat in the future they have the capacity to expand back to their original size, and perhaps even bigger.

And so, whilst a reduction in calories and partition sizes can aid weight loss, being on an extreme low calorie diet for a long period of time can in fact make it harder to sustain a healthy balanced weight in the long run.

If you are currently on this type of diet, seek advice from the professional nutritional therapist or trainer who can explain how to reverse diet back to a nutritionally balanced way of eating with a lower risk of re-gaining the weight already lost.

Calories are not your enemy.  They are a vital part of a healthy body, energised life and happy mind.

Instead, seek to find a nutritionally balanced way of eating that will help you to lose a controlled one to two pounds per week.  There is evidence that people who lose weight at this rate and by making better nutritious choices, eating smaller portion sizes, and exercising regularly also have the best chance of keeping if off for good.  So, make a plan to adopt new healthful habits that will help energise and sustain you for the long run, and remember that consistency always wins the race in the long run....

 Written by Kate Swinson - Founder of MEvME