Adapting to a New Way of Eating
When you follow an intermittent fasting lifestyle using the strategies I suggest in the Flexible Eating Lifestyle, you don't have to worry so much about your body adapting. But if you follow a rigid meal time or a careful calorie/macronutrient-counter, that can actually be a problem. Let me explain why.
The body can adapt to anything you do that's the same day-in and day-out. If you eat the same exact food, as an example, or do the same exercise daily, then yes, your body can adapt to that pattern of energy in and energy out. Your basal metabolic rate (BMR) will adjust to keep you alive - isn’t the human body such a miraculous thing?!?!
This is why diets don’t work and weight loss and fat loss hits a plateau. The body interprets the new way of eating - - > the DIET, as your new normal and adjusts accordingly.
Sooooo, when you increase food intake after the ‘diet’ and the body has adjusted to it’s lower BMR there’s a backfire and the result is often weight gain. =(
There are key strategies to keep your body from adapting to a specific level of caloric intake and energy output.
If you are listening to your hunger and satiety signals, and adjusting your intake based on those signals, you are already on the right track.
I don't eat the same way every day, and you may notice that I never suggest that you should eat the same way every day, either. In fact, I say over and over again that you should learn to listen to your body and adjust intake as needed within your daily eating window.
Even though I generally eat "one meal” most days, it's not ever the exact same size, the exact same length, the exact same macronutrients--it's not even always at the exact same time. NOTHING is the same about it from day to day. Some days, I actually eat TWO meals. On weekends and on vacation, I may even eat THREE meals.
It is important that you learn to listen to your body, and don't be overly rigid in your intermittent fasting lifestyle (which is why I encourage a flexible eating lifestyle!).
Don't schedule a rigid window that is exactly the same every day.
Don't count calories or macronutrients so they are precisely the same every day to hit some artificial or predetermined calorie or macronutrient target. (
disclaimer: I do recommend doing this for a few weeks to really KNOW what your intake is so if you have issues we can look at where you are/where you started and troubleshoot).
Don't aim for some sort of dietary perfection where you can never relax and enjoy life. THAT is a bad idea.
Instead, be more flexible. Listen to your body. Eat more some days. Eat less some days. Vary your window length. Live your life.
One day your body may be satisfied with a very small amount of food. STOP EATING. Trust those satiety signals. The next day you may need a longer window because you are hungrier. EAT MORE. Trust that you needed more, rather than beating yourself up because you are "weak" or have no “willpower”. Ditch the “I-worked-out-today-so-I-get-to-eat-more” mentality.
Take a day off for a special occasion. Live a little when life allows.
This is not a rigid plan--it's a lifestyle. And now you should understand this point: making the lifestyle rigid and diet-like is actually counter-productive to your goals, right?!
It's both as simple and as complicated as that.
Will you plateau and stop losing weight at some point? Yes. At your body's ideal weight. Eventually.
Even though weight loss is not my goal, am I losing scale weight? Don't know. Don't care. I don't weigh. My clothes are comfortable and my body is still changing.
When you do reach an “ideal weight," expect weight loss to stop. Who decides that you are now at your ideal weight? Surprise! It's not your conscious brain. It's your body. When your body decides you are at the ideal weight for the way you are living your life, you will stop losing weight and you will be at a your body’s set point. If you are lucky, it will be at a weight that your conscious-self also thinks is your ideal weight. If so, you have achieved weight loss bliss, which is when you feel good about your current weight, and your body is also happy to maintain that weight.
If you enjoy this lifestyle, then relax and enjoy the journey.
Eventually you may gradually get closer to your ideal weight, and your body will decide when you are there. Not you. It may be higher or lower than you thought or hoped it would be. Mine is actually lower than I thought it would be, according to my what my body has decided. And I'm not mad about it.