What is dietary fatigue?
I've often discussed the difficulty we all have in making healthy choices consistently, and the need to build a personal system that helps you make "the healthy choice" on a regular basis. Without this, most programs rely on willpower, and therefore eventually fail.
On the Sigma Nutrition Podcast, I heard a fascinating discussion with Gregg Slater. He is head of education at Lift the Bar, a company which educates fitness professionals, and a former PE teacher and Physical Training Instructor for the Royal Air Force.
This interview resonated with me as he focused on providing solutions for the decline in adherence, the ability to stick with a program, that invariable occurs over time. For weight loss, he called this dietary fatigue, and introduced the concept that:
That is, the result that you would see with your weight loss program is equal to the calorie deficit you intend to create minus the loss experienced by not being able to stay on the program. Looking for ways to reduce dietary fatigue would help to improve the results obtained.
Athletic training applied to weight loss
When high-level athletes train, think about someone training for the Tour de France or the Olympics, they often use a system called periodization. They don't do the same training day in and day out. Rather, they vary their training intensity day to day, week to week, and month to month. Periods of intense effort are balanced with times focused on recovery. This helps to keep the athlete's mind and body fresh and motivation high, and allows them to build to higher and higher levels of success.
Mr. Slater believes we can use this concept of periodization to help with weight loss. Rather than doing the same thing, every day, over a long period of time one would instead vary what is done each day and each week. Doing so could help to increase motivation when it was falling off, and hopefully allow for times to refresh the mind interspersed between more intense efforts of focused on weight loss.
Let's look at two ideas I thought would be relevant for those of you trying to lose weight:
Could you use the concepts of High vs. Low Days to keep your motivation up during the week? What do you think of incorporating 2-3 week diet breaks interspersed with 8-10 week weight loss phases?
Perhaps you'll find something here useful, even simply knowing that everyone has trouble at some point in any program. I wish you a great week.
Dr. Topher Fox
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