Calorie Shifting Diets - What is Calorie Shifting?

Fat Loss 4 Idiots is a calorie shifting diet program where you stay on plan for 11 days in a row and then take 3 days off to eat whatever you like.

For the 11 days on plan, you follow the specific food plans for each day, eating four meals per day. The food plan rotates the types of food you eat to keep your metabolism from falling into a rut.

After 11 days, you take three days off plan and on those days you eat exactly what you like. That's right, you don't follow any sort of food plan at all for three days and there are no restricted foods. So you have a built in cheat mechanism that keeps you from getting bored with what you are eating and also keeps your metabolism from adapting to a specific eating pattern. Once the three days are up, you go back to the eating plan for another 11 days and basically continue this pattern until you've lost your excess weight.

How does Calorie Shifting work?

Calorie shifting is a weight loss strategy designed to combat the natural slowdown that occurs in your metabolism whenever you are restricting your calorie intake. One of the reasons we hit plateaus in our diets -- unable to lose pounds for weeks and sometimes months on end -- is because your body is designed to preserve its fat stores and anytime those fat stores are threatened, your metabolism slows down in order to compensate.

Our body hasn't quite caught up with the 21st century yet and the fact that we are mostly sedentary, aren't out chasing our food to ground , and that we live in heated homes instead of cold, drafty caves. Most of us don't want or need this extra fat. We're trying to get rid of it and it would be nice if nature cooperated a little bit more, but clearly we have ways to get around that. Calorie shifting is one of them.

Weight Loss programs with Calorie Shifting Strategies

There are several different diets on the market besides Fat Loss 4 Idiots that call for a calorie shifting strategy of some kind, though not all of them call it that. Here's a rundown of what's available.

QOD Diet by John Daugirdas

The Q.O.D. Diet (or QOD diet, where QOD means "every other day"), allows you to eat well every other day. This diet advocates alternating regular days of eating with fasting or semi-fasting days where you eat only 300-400 calories per day. Quite frankly, I think it sound a little nuttty and would be difficult to sustain for any significant length of time.

Johnson Upday Downday Diet

The Johnson Diet is another alternating days diet. On the upday you eat anything you want and as much as you want without intentionally overeating. In other words, don't use the upday as a binge day.

On the down day you eat 20-35% of the calories you would normally eat. It seems less hardcore than the QOD diet and probably about the same caloric intake from when I was doing Medifast, maybe a bit less, on the down days.

Tricking the Metabolism?

Calorie shifting basically keeps your metabolism from becoming complacent. So instead of following, for example, a 1200 calorie diet for months on end, you provide shocks to your system so that your metabolism doesn't expect the same thing every day. You could eat 1200 calories a day for six days and then on the 7th day, eat 2500 Another method would be to eat 1000 calories one day, 1400 the day after, 1200, 1800, etc.

Or if you were following a very low carb plan, instead of changing up the number of calories, you could increase your carb consumption a couple of times a month.

Some diet plans suggest zig zagging the ratios of carbs/proteins so that you are only eating low carb for a few days before going back to a high carb day, but you should keep in mind that a lot of the reason low carb plans actually work is because your body goes into ketosis after several days with low carb levels and this helps prevent hunger. If you zig zag every couple of days, then you will never go into ketosis. You may find that this works just fine for you, but it is something to keep in mind as you figure out the best way for your body to lose weight.

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