No, Lisa. You should not change your diet.
Lisa and her spouse have been on a “keto” diet for many months. That means they have largely eliminated commercially processed foods, grain, and sugar from their diet. Being the fine wife that she is, Lisa’s principal interest was to help avoid the diabetes that runs rampant in her spouse’s family, a situation that has resulted in amputations and heart issues.
However, both of them had an interest in losing weight and Lisa was convinced that her partner’s ability to avoid diabetes would be helped by reducing body fat. Her conviction was well placed.
This has been a bit of a challenge for Lisa as her partner pretty much hates vegetables. But she has been clever in finding and creating recipes that include the important foods and avoid the bad ones. With no thought whatsoever about calories, each of them has lost weight slowly and consistently during the months while avoiding hunger, a result I encourage for everyone.
However, Lisa is now down two pants sizes and she told me she was thinking how to stop the weight loss so she wouldn’t have to buy still more clothes. My response? “No Lisa. You should not change your diet. You need to consider this your diet for life.”
Our bodies are smart. Lisa’s body will know when it has reached the level of body fat appropriate for her stature and genetic makeup. She will never need to change the way she eats.
Any overt attempt to stop weight loss can only by accomplished by eating beyond her metabolic requirements. In other words, either you start eating the stuff that made you overweight in the first place or just ignore the fact that you aren’t hungry and eat more anyway. You can count on either approach to cause weight gain rather than bringing weight loss to a screeching halt.
Weight gain following weight loss can be the beginning of yo-yo dieting. Eventually your body decides all that extra weight will be needed if you are stranded on a desert island. So to help you along in protecting yourself from a famine, your body reduces your metabolic rate. That means that fewer calories are required to keep you going.
Perhaps you remember an article and website post I wrote in October of last year describing the painful outcome of television show Biggest Loser contestants as they gained back all the weight they has lost and more. You will find that post here.
First you gain back the weight you lost and then a few more pounds as a result of the metabolic rate reduction. So the number of calories that worked for you before are now too many. Maintaining weight control becomes counting calories, a most unpleasant result.
The diet that Lisa and her partner adopted is perfect for weight management and disease avoidance. You too may be able to benefit from this approach. But it only works if you consider it a permanent change. Otherwise you too will be yo-yo dieting and things can get a lot harder.
Pat Smith is the author of “It’s All about the Food,” a book that guides nutritious food choices as the way to avoid illness and maintain a healthy weight. Proceeds from her book benefit the Montgomery County Food Pantry. She is a resident of Montgomery County, AR, president of Ouachita Village, Inc. board of directors (Montgomery County Food Pantry), and member of the Mount Ida Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors.