Diet plateaus are frustrating and may destroy your diet morale, tempting you to cheat. There are various ways to get your weight loss back on track, including a plateau-busting diet. Opting for a calorie-shifting diet may kick your weight loss into gear without cutting calories.
While changing your exercise routine, tracking your food intake or lowering your daily calorie count can help to break a weight-loss plateau, according to Woman's Day, you may find that switching to a calorie-shifting, or zigzag, diet plan can help to encourage weight loss, without taking drastic measures. Calorie-shifting diets add up to the same number of calories over the course of a week, but vary calorie totals from day to day.
Calorie-shifting, or cycling, diets may work by preventing the body from adapting to a reduced calorie intake, according to AnswerFitness.com. Over time, your body may become used to a low-calorie diet and you may find that you're not losing weight. Shifting or cycling your calorie intake may break a weight-loss plateau and help you to begin losing at an appropriate pace.
Plan one high-calorie day, three moderate-calorie days and three low-calorie days on a calorie cycling plan. If you determine that you need 1,500 calories per day to lose weight, plan three 1,200-calorie days, three 1,500-calorie days and one 2,100-calorie day. Adjust these totals appropriately for your calorie needs, factoring in your age, weight and activity level.
You can include any foods you like in a plateau busting diet, but you will need to count calories each day. Plan lighter foods for low-calorie days and enjoy splurges or desserts on your high-calorie day. You may find it helpful to plan moderate- to high-calorie days for times of increased activity such as a hard hike or intense workout. Plan to track your diet and calories on paper or using computer software, and stick to your daily calorie totals.
Calorie-shifting or cycling diets are not a remarkable new innovation. Many people naturally cycle calories, eating more one day and less another day. While calorie shifting can break a diet plateau and may keep you motivated, it does require willpower. Low-calorie days on the diet are often quite low, and you may find that you are hungrier or have less energy on these days.