Dieting, especially in a calorie deficit when you want to lose weight, can be very bland and boring. The same thing over again, not much of a break from the pattern. But there is a great option, zig zag dieting or sometimes referred to as zig zag calorie cycling. So in this post, we”ll discuss what you need to know about zig zag dieting.
I was able to handle the dullness from it for a few months when I first buckled down to lose weight. Eventually it did take a mental toll on me. Snacks became a more frequent thing. Once in a while I would have a cheat day to let myself have a break.
Upon looking for methods that other dieters used to battle this issue I was having, I found the concept of zig zag dieting.
The idea is that some days you will be eating a different amount of daily calories throughout the week and at the end of the week the amount of calories will average out to be your target goal.
For example, If i wanted to eat 1800 calories a day, I would have 12,600 calories for the whole week. i could have 2 small days of 1400 calories, 4 bigger days of 1800 calories, and 1 nice “break day of 2600. This adds up to the 12,600 total.
I personally love using this, and I do see plenty of benefits that i would like to point out.
1. Zig Zag dieting gives you a day to recover mentally
The first thing of what you need to know about zig zag dieting is how it can help you mentally.
You may or may not struggle with dieting because of the stress it can sometimes put on you from constantly being in a deficit. If this is you, then you can choose to adjust your calories in a way where you can have a day where you eat in a calorie surplus.
(Meaning more than your calorie maintenance level.)
How ever many you choose to use is up to you, but remember that the more calories you add to this day or even if you decide to have multiple days of excess, the rest of your week will be harder and more strict.
Personally, i stick with 1 and sometimes 2 depending on what i will be doing during the week, and speaking of that..
2. Zig Zag dieting is Flexible around weekly events
A great benefit of zig zag dieting, is being able to tackle most schedules. Have a big dinner planned? Create a high calorie day followed by a small one since you probably wont feel as hungry the next day anyways.
Feel like your workout days lack some extra effort while dieting? Make those days calorie surplus ones so you can have some more energy.
Its an amazing feeling to have when you are able to enjoy a night out with friends or family and not have to be one the one who orders a salad only because they don’t have many calories left in their day.
REMEMBER, A SURPLUS DAY SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED A CHEAT DAY. TRY YOUR BEST TO CONTINUE TO EAT HEALTHY FOODS!
3.Potentially easier to stick to long term.
Another very common issue with dieting, is doing it long term. Hey maybe you are serious this time. Maybe you are going to finally hit your goals with all the lessons you learned. Hopefully you do.
Its not easy, especially if you didn’t practice good eating habits before for example.
Being hungry more often then not might leave you quitting in a few weeks.
The whole idea I see here with zig zag dieting is adding enjoyment to the lifestyle you are attempting to adopt. I fully believe that if you do not enjoy something, you will 1) not do as good of a job as you could if you were emotionally invested 2) not continue to do it once your motivation for the end result wears thin.
That is why having the ability to adjust your eating cycle for the week, adds an extra drop of individuality with each day so as to not quickly grow bored of your diet.
Other than planning and measuring your portions if you decide to that route, their is not as much work required.
4. Zig Zag dieting can help your metabolism? Maybe?
A widely discussed topic, how to avoid weight loss plateaus. The state that, after a while of using the same techniques, your body wont be losing weight anymore once it gets used to the routine.
Zig zag dieting is backed by some to help battle this issue, while others swear that it does absolutely nothing for this.
The argument for zig zag dieting in this regard is that with the constantly changing eating habits you will be using, your body wont have a way to really adjust and you will continue to lose weight as long as you maintain a sufficient calorie deficit.
I won’t say whether i agree or not, there is a lot of information backing both sides of this argument, but I want to make clear what i think is more important.
Stick to what works for you!
If you find that all the info helps you and you end up making tons of progress. Amazing! And Congratulations!
No matter what you decide to use to reach your goals remember two rules
1) Am i progressing?
2) Am I doing so in a healthy manner?
If the answer to both of these questions are yes then stick to it!
Everyone is different and what works for one person may not for somebody else. Don’t think of that as a bad thing, because I believe it is beautiful!
You may find that your magic pill is zig zag dieting. You may not. Keep on trying new things and don’t stay stagnant if it doesn’t help you go where you want to be!
Hopefully you have a good grasp of what you need to know about zig zag dieting, good luck!