ATLANTA - Not the best at sticking with your diet? Good news!
It may be okay, even a good thing, to give yourself some occasional breaks.
WellStar Kennestone's Director of Bariatric Surgery Dr. Fritz Jean-Pierre says we know going on super-strict diets usually doesn't really work.
"Yes, you're going to lose some weight initially," Dr. Jean-Pierre. "But after a certain point, your body gets confused. Did you ever watch those survivor shows where someone gets stuck on a deserted island? They have all this energy, and then eventually they start getting really tired."
Research shows that after about 2 weeks of cutting calories, our brains go into survival mode, signaling to our bodies to converse energy by slowing our metabolism.
"Your body says, Hey, I don't know what's going on, maybe we're done, slow things down,'" says Jean-Pierre.
And now, Australian researchers at the University of Tasmania's School of Health Sciences have found taking a break at that critically two-week point, may help us break through that weight loss slow down.
They followed 2 groups of overweight men, who agreed to cut their food intake by a third. One group dieted continuously for 16 weeks.The second took two-week breaks every two weeks, over a 30 week period.
The researchers found the men in the second group, the ones that took the breaks, lost more weight (17.5 pounds, on average) and were more likely to keep the weight off longer than the men who dieted continuously. Dr. Jean-Pierre cautions taking a break, in this case, did not mean going on a binge.
"It wasn't two weeks to go out and splurge, and eat everything you wanted to," he says."You still had to maintain a certain level of healthy eating to maintain your energy for those two weeks."
The study was small in size. It also didn't include women, who, Dr. Jean Pierre says, tend to have a harder time losing weight. Still, he's intrigued.
"I may have to try it myself," he says. "It's an interesting concept."