All diets produce results temporarily but then hit a wall at some point. You plateau. Why is this, and what is the long-term solution?
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In this week’s podcast, we spoke with Jason Sieb about his AltShift diet protocol designed for healthy fat loss. This was a great conversation that brought up some important points that we’ll highlight today.
The majority of people today are currently on or have been on some type of diet. Whether your goal was weight loss, weight gain, gut healing, or reducing inflammation, it’s likely you’ve tried some type of protocol.
Whatever diet you’ve tried, you probably saw positive results initially. All diets produce results temporarily but then hit a wall at some point. You plateau. Why is this?
There are a couple of reasons, but the primary factor is adaptability. Over time, your body adapts to your eating plan and you start to plateau. Additionally, many diets simply aren’t sustainable. They’re not healthy or maintainable long-term.
Diets fail when:
- The guidelines of the diet you choose are too difficult to follow long-term. Nobody wants to weigh and measure everything they eat for the rest of their life.
- You eventually feel too lousy to stay motivated. If your diet doesn’t improve your health, there will come a point when you can’t take it anymore.
- Results stop coming, leaving you far short of your goals. When you want to lose 30 pounds, getting stuck after losing only 10 makes it hard to stay diligent.
Another factor is that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to dieting. There’s not a specific way of eating that is going to work for everyone.
For some people, a higher fat and lower carb diet can be tough on their gut, and they tend to do better when they bring in some starchier carbohydrates like rice and potatoes. Others thrive on a lower carb, higher fat protocol. Additionally, to the degree to which we can improve someone’s gut health, we’ll see body composition optimize.
Jason Sieb suggests that the key to an effective diet plan to eat in a way that keeps your body from adapting. You need to cycle the way you eat and change things up. In other words, he suggests you’ll see better results when you cycle carbs, fats, and calories. Certain times you’re eating higher fat, and other times you’re eating higher carb. This method of cycling will help promote healthy fat loss.
Jason also suggest that many of us have a problem with hyperpalatability. Processed foods have evolved our taste buds in negative ways. We get used to the way processed foods taste with all of the extra flavor from sugar and other toxins, so we don’t appreciate the natural flavor found in natural foods.
This is so true. Think of sugar addiction. If you’ve ever tried to quit sugar, you probably found the process to be quite difficult. Naturally sweet foods like fruits probably didn’t taste very sweet to you. You may have even experienced withdrawal symptoms like headaches and moodiness.
You don’t need to eat food that bland and tasteless, but you do need to retrain your taste buds. If you’ve been eating processed foods for awhile, then you’re probably experiencing hyperpalatability in which normal foods won’t have much taste to you because processed foods are so over-flavored.
In the Western world, we’re so wrapped up in palatability and flavor that even hyperpalatable foods need to be mixed up on a daily basis. We’ve become addicted to these foods because they light up our dopamine receptors.
Dopamine is a “wanting” hormone, not a “liking” hormone. So it makes us repeat things. Food becomes a very real psychological problem, very much like an addition.
You must start thinking in terms of whole foods. Meat, healthy fat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices.
The general recommendation is to limit grains and remove gluten-free grains. Some grains are allowed in moderation, like white rice, oats, and pseudo-grains like amaranth and buckwheat, if you tolerate it. Sweet corn is okay and occasional corn chips and corn tortillas are fine if you tolerate them.
There’s a lot of gray area with this plan; it’s not highly rules-based.
The plan consists of cycling from higher carb to lower carb and lower calories. Keep in mind that on this plan, the lower calorie cycle is still not low calorie. It’s very healthy and well-balanced.
Another great thing this plan challenges you to do is abandon many of your diet beliefs and branch out. Many of us in the health and wellness world have an orthorexia mind-set and specific food rules that we refuse to break.
You may have in your mind that starchy foods like white potatoes and white rice are evil. Or you many have a huge fear that eating fat will make you fat. This plan will force you to challenge those beliefs and step out of your comfort zone.
In the beginning of the protocol, calorie counting is suggested, but only in the short-term. The primary reason is to give you an accurate perspective of how much you’re eating. Many women aren’t eating enough even when they think they’re eating a lot of calories.
You will need to weigh and measure food for a couple of weeks while you establish new habits. You will log this in the beginning, but not forever. Once you’re established in your new routine with new foods, you won’t have to do this anymore. You shouldn’t have to think about food all the time.
In terms of exercise, a few suggestions are listed below. However, you must get your diet right before you will see a whole lot of change from exercising.
The first form of exercise everyone needs to be doing is walking. We need that long, slow movement that our ancestors used to do all day. Going to the gym and doing 45 minutes of high-intensity cardio is not the answer. Walking is the foundation of fitness.
Lifting comes next, then sprinting or very short interval training or high-intensity interval training.
To wrap it up, there is no perfect protocol; you have to find what works best for you. But if there were a perfect protocol, many of us would still fail because so many people are running around with such desperation and obsession over dieting and food. So much is mind-set and how you perceive yourself.
To achieve your health goals, you must have the right perspective and ability to stick with it.
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What do you think? I would like to hear your thoughts or experience with this.