The idea behind calorie shifting is that you alternate your normal monthly caloric intake by increasing and decreasing the number of calories the following month. The concept is that you keep your metabolism on its toes since it never knows when it will get more or fewer calories.
An example would be if you would shift from a 2,000 calorie a day diet to 500 calories two days a week, and then adding one or two 700 calorie days. Your body cannot adapt to a certain expectation of how many calories it will get.
This calorie shifting plan does seem to work, but there is just as much evidence that consuming a diet that is balanced in calories over a long period of time, including an exercise routine will work just as well for weight loss. As a matter of fact, eating frequent small meals has proven to be an effective way to control weight, and in this case, the body is never deprived, as in the calorie shifting method.
Calorie shifting, according to the experts, may merely be the healthy body’s normal way of dealing with calories. So-called naturally thin people don’t consciously shift calories, they simply eat when they are hungry and don’t eat when they are not. Increased activity increases appetite, lulls in activity decrease it.
If you are attuned to your body, you will realize that the body’s caloric needs are not always the same. Just think about a day when you are sick with a cold. Why doesn’t your body feel like it needs that same 2,000 calories it gets every other day? It is making its own adjustments.
Calorie shifting is a method frequently used by athletes, however. They can adjust their weight to meet weight requirements. If a wrestler or boxer needs to gain or lose weight to stay in a class, if a football player needs to add mass, they will eat more calories more frequently.
Sometimes maintaining a steady caloric diet and increasing exercise fails to result in weight loss. Calorie shifting may be effective in this case. The body frequently goes into starvation mode when not enough calories are being consumed for supporting the level of activity. The body will hoard the calories it receives in order to fuel the activity. Even a small caloric increase may finally result in weight loss in this situation.
The Problem with Calorie Shifting is that it may become a gimmick that will allow people to eat as much as they want since they will be shifting calories next month. The problem is, do they actually cut back? And many questions whether short-term variations in caloric intake will really have as much of an impact as a steady lowering of calories over a longer-term period. In addition, if you try to fool the body in this way, it may retain fat when you are eating more in anticipation for when it will be starved again.
The bottom line is that weight loss and weight maintenance is a long-term goal, and any diets that are designed to work over the short run are doomed. Calorie shifting also may not give your body the proper nutrients, since you have to overindulge on high-calorie (read: fatty) foods some weeks and cut back and risk not getting proper nutrients the next. Making healthy food choices in the first place is probably the best choice.