Do Diets Have To Be Restrictive?


If you have ever looked into any literature regarding weight loss, you will inevitably come across the same phrase over and over again: “everything is fine in moderation!”

This might sound perfect, but for anyone who has ever struggled with their weight, it’s patently untrue. There are people on this earth who can have one bite of chocolate and then put the rest away, but that’s not true of everyone. You might feel compelled to eat the rest of the bar, and then another after it – so the idea of moderation sounds almost impossible.

Perhaps this is why so many dieting regimes have a tendency to be restrictive. You will often be “banned” from eating certain foods, or at the very least see them drastically reduced. If you take a look down the list of foods you can’t eat on the Atkins diet or the recommended HCG diet food list; there’s very little “everything in moderation” to be found there.

So why is this? Do you always have to restrict yourself if you want to lose weight?

In a word… yes.

The simple truth is that for some people, restriction is going to be the only way they manage to lose and maintain their weight. The important thing is acknowledging if you fit into this bracket.

Have you ever –

  • Begun a diet, done well for awhile, then had a piece of chocolate or a slice of cake and then suddenly fallen off the wagon (so to speak)?
  • Eaten the entire amount of a “bad” food, even though you know that you should be limiting yourself?
  • Found yourself obsessing over the small amounts of calorific and sweet foods you allow in your diet, to the point it’s all you think about?

If any of the above apply, then yes, you probably do need to restrict the foods you’re allowed to eat – at least in the initial phases of a diet.

The problem tends to come with temptation and how it impacts your body. When you’re trying to lose weight, you’re fighting evolution. As mankind evolved, we didn’t have plentiful access to food, so every calorie was a bonus. Weight gain in the early days of humanity was a sign of being successful; an able hunter-gatherer. So our bodies – always wary of the famines that plagued our ancestors – evolved to hold on to that weight as much as possible.

So when you try to lose weight, your body panics – it wants to hold on to all those excess pounds thanks to the evolutionary quirk. This means that you might find it nigh-on impossible to resist calorific foods; your body is screaming at you to replenish what is being lost.

Some people have excellent willpower and can resist this call – but it’s okay if you don’t fall into this category. You just have to restrict your access to the “bad” foods for at least eight weeks at the start of a new eating regime. Knowing your limits and what you are able to withstand in terms of cravings is essential – so if you struggle with moderation, it genuinely might be better for you to go for something more restrictive instead. Without the temptation, you can focus on your new eating habits without the distraction of the calories your body is demanding.


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