Calorie shifting diet plans are based on the idea that when dieters consistently restrict caloric intake, the body reacts by slowing the metabolism to compensate for the reduced energy available. Therefore, calorie shifting plans attempt to confuse the body's metabolism so that it stays operating at a high level. Keeping the metabolism high by eating healthy and nutritionally balanced meals will hopefully allow dieters to lose weight more easily, avoid weight loss plateaus, and keep the weight off permanently once it has been lost. Taking a daily multivitamin and drinking lots of water also help the body during calorie shifting diets.
Some calorie shifting plans advise that dieters should start at one calorie level and decrease or increase incrementally on each of the following days, resetting back to the original calorie level at the end of the cycle. Other calorie shifting plans simply call for a varied amount of calories to be eaten per day, but the calories do not necessarily have to follow a certain pattern. Both of these plans, however, operate on the principle that the average amount of calories eaten during the calorie shifting cycle, for example weekly, should be the correct amount to facilitate healthy weight loss. If the average is too high, weight loss will not occur, but if it is too low, the body might be receiving inadequate nutrition and the metabolism may slow.
In addition to varying the daily calories eaten, some calorie shifting plans also require the dieter to vary the total amount of calories in each meal to confuse the metabolism even further. For instance, a light breakfast of egg whites and toast one day might be followed by a full omelet and breakfast ham the next day. The types of foods eaten are also sometimes varied, so that the body does not get accustomed to a specific food group at a certain time of the day. Continuing the same example, the omelet and ham is full of protein, so the following day's breakfast might be primarily carbohydrates, such as a bagel or muffin and a piece of fruit.
Although it is tempting to get in the habit of letting high calorie days be splurge days full of less healthy foods, it is a much better idea to try and keep meals of any size healthy and nutritionally balanced. Sometimes the variation of the food groups can make it difficult to achieve the most balanced diet, in which case taking a multivitamin is probably wise. As with any diet, drinking plenty of water can make weight loss easier, reduce cravings, and keep the body feeling healthier and more energetic.