Feeling the Squeeze: 4 Signs Your Eating Plan is too Restrictive

Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, ACSM HFS is a Washington, D.C. based dietitian and weight management expert. Together with Bernie Salazar, at-home winner of The Biggest Loser, she co-created “The Nurture Principles” – Five mantras to help people change their lives and find wellness within.

If you’ve ever lost weight by cutting calories then you can understand the allure of restricting further to accelerate weight loss. But just because a little is good – more is not better. An eating plan that is too restrictive is a first-class ticket to sabotage. Find out if your current plan needs loosening up.

You cut out foods you love.

If your diet has you avoiding specific foods, especially ones you love, it is essentially setting you up for failure. There’s no reason that even the most “forbidden” food can’t be included in a healthy eating plan. You deserve to love the foods you eat. Include a small portion of something that satisfies – whether you crave sweet or salty foods.

Your calorie intake is below your resting metabolic rate.

Even when you are dieting, you need to eat enough to sustain your basic daily activities, like office work, exercise and eating (yes, you burn calories digesting food). Your body will make its own calories by digesting muscle tissue and fat for energy if needed. Not only does this put your metabolism in the toilet, but it leaves you prone to irritability, fatigue, and illness. A modest daily calorie deficit will help you maintain your muscle and burn fat for energy.

You drink caffeinated beverages for energy.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my coffee in the morning and I don’t blame you if you do too. But if you are dieting and seem to consistently go for a caffeine “pick me up” several times a day chances are you’re getting a fake “fix”. Calories provide energy – not caffeine. Restrict too much and your tiredness might be related to lack of fuel.

You think about food too much.

Sometimes, you can be so motivated to get results that you take every piece of diet advice you hear. Not only can it be time consuming, but it can push you to the point of frustration. Why waste time on what you can’t have when it feels so much better to embrace what you can? Take the struggle out dieting and bring balance back into your life.

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