300 Fewer calories

Over 90% of people who lose weight on a diet regain it all – and more – within two years. Of course, you know by now that this is largely because diets don’t work. However, it turns out that there could be another contributing factor. Experts in the US recently discovered that people who have lost a significant amount of weight actually need to eat 300 fewer calories a day – the equivalent of your average chocolate bar – than people of the same weight who haven’t dieted to reach that size. Why? Because dieting involves deprivation, and so anyone who diets has to eat more to feel satisfied, even though they feel as though they’ve eaten less. And because dieting is based on the ‘rewards’ system, it activates the part of the brain that regards certain types of food as a reward – a recipe for disaster. Studies also show that dieters’ muscles tend to burn fewer calories than the muscles of those who have always been a healthy weight.

But it isn’t all bad news. What this research goes to show is simply that dieting isn’t the answer – the only way to lose weight and keep it off is to change your habits for good.