Why an interval approach to weight loss is most effective

As a nation we’ve probably never ‘dieted’ more despite obesity rates having trebled since the 1980’s. So why are our ‘diets’ failing and what can we do about it?

The facts are startling. Almost two in three adult Australians and one in four children are overweight or obese.

As a society, we’re now trying, on average, four to five different diets a year, leaving us caught in a trap of perpetual dieting, where we’re ending up fatter and fatter over time. So what’s going wrong?

Dr Nick Fuller is a leading obesity expert and author of the popular new book, Interval Weight Loss and has helped hundreds of patients overcome their weight loss plateaus. How does he do this?

By using an interval approach to weight loss that tricks the body into believing it is at a new (lower) set body weight.

Dieting ourselves fat

“There are two big reasons that most diets fail,” Dr Fuller says. “First, they’re unrealistic and often not scientifically based.”

“Secondly, your body’s response. A particular diet might say take out this food group and that food group and you can’t stick to it long term. Your body will work to fight the weight loss every time.”

Every time a diet fails, it becomes harder and harder for the body to lose weight the next time we try.

Dr Fuller, who completed his doctorate on the efficacy and cost effectiveness of different obesity weight-loss treatments, and has also completed degrees in exercise physiology and nutrition and dietetics, says young women in particular fall victim to the diet trap.

“It comes back to the body image issue and the distortion around what is healthy body image – and social media is the worst place for them to go to for weight loss of advice,” he warns.

Why interval weight loss works

“Rather than activating the body’s fight or flight response, the body is gently challenged to redefine its baseline body weight until the final weight-loss goal is achieved,” Dr Fuller explains.

“What we found is that when we put people on an interval weight loss, where you lose a small amount of weight but then maintain that new weight for the second month before attempting to lose weight again, it prevents the usual response to weight loss.

“You don’t get the decrease in metabolism and you don’t get the increase in appetite hormones. People find it fun and easy to stick to. Most importantly they keep the weight off long term and don’t have to omit food groups!”

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