We all have a friend that swears they just cut calories and lost a lot of weight. They will lose a little bit of weight doing that. But it won’t work long term. Here is why:
Newbie or Rookie Effect
When you first start any type of diet you will see initial weight loss. It’s called the Newbie or Rookie Effect. Your body isn’t used to the new diet, and you will lose some weight. However, your body has very powerful protective mechanisms and will soon adapt and get you back to your original weight. See our section on the Vermont Prison Experiment in the Set Point Section. Sure, there will be some people that lose a significant amount of weight, but they will never get to their goal weight and will stay overweight. It’s just a matter of time and the science isn’t on their side. Nearly every study that has been done on all types of dieting has shown minimal weight loss of just 2-5 kilograms or 5-10 pounds. Even in prolonged diets that lasted 12-18 months. You need to lose more weight, that’s not enough.
This is a similar effect to the newbie effect that occurs when you start working out. When you start working out, you will significant initial gains. Your muscles will grow, you will be able to lift more weight faster. But then you will plateau and get stuck.
Most people that start a new diet start by restricting the amount of calories they eat. Most of the calories that are eliminated are carbohydrates. People rarely cut back on the amount of meat or fat they eat. They almost always cut back on carbohydrates. That is what causes weight loss on most diets. Your body’s protective mechanisms and genetics realize what you are doing, and you will start stabilizing your weight and even gaining it back on even very, very low calorie diets.