Why Restrictive Diets: Don’t Work Long Term

By Randa Carrabba @randacarrabba

Restrictive diets, or those that cut out a specific food group, seem to be all the rage, such as the Keto diet where carbs are nearly eliminated. While these diets can work in the short term, they will not be beneficial long term. People are better off understanding how foods can affect so much more than their waist size, and now more than ever people should be focusing on nutrient dense foods rather than restricting their diet.

Eliminating entire food groups and cutting out the overprocessed “junk food” will often lead to an unexpected calorie deficit, which helps with fat loss at first, but anytime someone reduces calories a drastic amount, their bodies will drop weight, until their metabolism slows down. Once the metabolism has slowed down, a person may try to eliminate more food or reduce their calorie intake even further, but your body will slow down its metabolism by trying to tell you that it actually needs more food than you’re giving it.

Further, if a specific food or food group is cut out, eventually that will be what is most desired. Anytime someone is “restricted” from something, that usually only lasts short term. In the long run, restrictive diets lead to burnout. This is why you usually see 30-day versions of these types of diets – think Whole 30. Someone can only deprive themselves of their favorite foods or food groups for so long. Think how many people you know that have “restarted the Keto diet” over and over again.

Yes, fat and weight loss ultimately comes down to whether or not there is a caloric deficit happening. It comes down to calories in verses calories out. So how does one actually fuel their body with nutrient-dense foods and eat a 2200 calorie + diet that includes a balance of all 3 macronutrients? Strength Training. The more lean muscle mass a body builds, the more calories the body will burn on its own at a resting state. This means the metabolism is revved up, ready to utilize the foods that are fed to it, and as more muscle is built, the amount of calories consumed also increases. Thus, long term results and sustainability of your weight, as long as the body is being properly fueled and not limited or restricted.

The three macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The human body needs all three. Counting macros allows for food freedom, while not restricting overall calories or any specific foods or food groups (macronutrients). Cutting back on inflammatory foods, processed foods, and refined sugars while still enjoying your favorite treats and eating more than you have in years sounds pretty do-able, right? Indeed it is!

I currently consume 2500 calories a day, broken down into 250+ grams of carbs, 150+ grams of protein and less than 80 grams of fats a day.

Always consult your doctor or physician first. Due to allergies, intolerances and illnesses, some people will need to follow diets that eliminates specific food groups, but that should be evaluated by a registered dietician.


Day 1

Breakfast Peanut Butter & Banana Protein Shake


  1. 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or high protein milk!)

  2. 2 tablespoons PB2 (powdered peanut butter – high protein)

  3. 1/2-1 scoop any vanilla protein

  4. powder (amount based on preference of taste/macros)

  5. 1 medium sized banana, frozen


  1. Mix all ingredients into a blender or bullet Ninja and pour into a glass.

  2. You can add in ice before or after blending if you want.



Skinny Fried Rice w/ Chicken Breast


  1. 4-6oz chicken breast (based on preference and/or macros)

  2. 1 cup brown rice, dry

  3. 2 egg whites

  4. 1 large egg

  5. 1/2 onion, diced

  6. 1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots

  7. 1 tbsp minced garlic

  8. 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (add more to taste if you want)


  1. Cook rice (I do mine in a rice cooker) with onion.

  2. Grill the chicken breast separately. Season if you wish!

  3. Once rice is done, add in the frozen peas and carrots and allow to cook for 5 minutes covered.

  4. Crack in your egg & add egg whites to cook covered for 2-3 minutes.

  5. Add in chicken and fluff the rice.

  6. Add soy sauce to taste.


Snack Ideas

Protein Bar

Sliced Veggies with Hummus Dip

Yogurt Parfait (add in granola for extra carbs and/or protein powder)



Taco Salad


  1. 8 oz lean ground beef or turkey (based on preference)

  2. 1-2 Handfuls of Tortilla Chips (whole wheat for me!)

  3. Low Sodium Taco Seasoning Packet

  4. 1 can low sodium black beans

  5. Green or Red Lettuce

  6. Spinach – for extra greens

  7. 1/2 onion, diced

  8. 1 cup mushrooms, diced

  9. 1-2 tomatoes, diced

  10. Cilantro & Jalapenos, optional

  11. Low Fat or Fat Free Sour Cream

  12. Low Sodium or Fresh Salsa

  13. Fat Free Catalena Dressing


  1. Brown the lean ground beef or turkey.

  2. Once meat is 1/2 way browned, add in onions and mushrooms.

  3. When meat & veggies are finished, drain and add in 1 can black beans and taco seasoning packet. Follow instructions on packet.

  4. In separate bowl, cut up the lettuce of choice and toss in 1-2 handfuls of spinach. Add in tomatoes. Cilantro & jalapenos can be added if you wish.

  5. To serve, place tortilla chips on bottom, then salad mixture, and top with meat mixture. Add in sour cream and/or salsa if desired, but be sure to include catalena dressing. It’s so good!

  6. If you have room in your macros, add cheese!


Macro Cheat Sheet


  1. Fruit & Dried Fruit

  2. Sweet Potatoes

  3. Potatoes, Corn, Squash

  4. Peas & Carrots, Okra & Onions

  5. Tomatoes & Celery

  6. Kale, Lettuce & Spinach

  7. Peppers & Cabbage

  8. Rice & Rice Cakes

  9. Whole Grain/Whole Wheat

  10. Oatmeal

  11. Honey/Syrup, Jellies & Jams

  12. Juices

  13. Cereal, Bread

  14. Kombucha, Corn Tortilla

  15. Ketchup & BBQ Sauce

  16. Wine & Beer

  17. Non fat Frozen Yogurt

Carbs & Protein

  1. Oats & Egg Whites

  2. Bagel & Deli Meal

  3. Fruit & Non-Fat Yogurt

  4. Protein Shake & Fruit

  5. Tuna-Rice/Poke Bowl

  6. Quinoa & Wild Rice

  7. Beans/Lentils/Peas

  8. Cereal & Skim Milk

  9. Veggie Burger

  10. Edamame

  11. Cucumber, Broccoli, Asparagus

  12. Cauliflour, Mushrooms

  13. Brussel Sprout & Green Beans

  14. Non-Fat Flavored Yogurt


  1. Egg Whites

  2. Protein Powder

  3. Collagen Peptides

  4. Turkey Breast

  5. Chicken Breast

  6. Lean Deli Meat

  7. Shrimp, Tuna

  8. Cod, Scallops

  9. Mahi-Mahi

  10. Venison

  11. Pork Tenderloin

  12. No Fat Cottage Cheese

Carbs & Fat

  1. Granola

  2. Donuts

  3. Cookies

  4. Ice Cream

  5. Cake

  6. Pastries

  7. Chocolate

  8. Popcorn

  9. Nut Butters

  10. Chips & Guac

  11. Avocado Toast

  12. Plantain Chips

  13. Potato Chips

  14. French Fries

  15. Hummus

  16. Bread & Butter

  17. Gravy

  18. Chia Seeds

  19. Coconut Flakes


  1. Oils, Butter, Coconut Milk

  2. Bone Marrow, Nuts

  3. Almond Flour, Mayonnaise

  4. Olives, Avocado

  5. Egg Yolk, Flaxseed

Protein & Fat

  1. Cheese, Eggs

  2. Bacon/Pork Belly

  3. Full Fat Yogurt

  4. Steak/Beef

  5. Cottage Cheese

  6. Chorizo/Sausage

  7. Chicken Thighs, Salmon

  8. Coconut Milk & Protein

  9. Sour Cream, Chia Seeds

  10. Duck, Lamb, Bone Marrow

More Macro Friendly Foods

  1. Sugar Free Jello

  2. Air Popped Popcorn

  3. Shirataki Noodles

  4. Black Coffee

  5. Unsweetened Tea

  6. Unsweetened Nut Milk

  7. Flavored Water

  8. Salsa, Hot Sauce & Sriracha

  9. Horseradish

  10. Sugar Free Syrup

  11. Apple cider Finger

  12. Sauerkraut & Pickles

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