Most diets are considered to a degree as starvation diets which involve a decrease in calories. Initially the body may adapt by burning fat and raising the metabolism, however after some time there is an understanding that the body will most likely adapt to the decrease in calories by slowing metabolism.
This occurs because the body goes into survival mode, reacting to a decrease in calorie intake by conserving stored fat and burning energy stores. It is a very important bodily trigger but a reason why many diets out there fail and often result in dieters weighing more than to begin with.
The idea of calorie shifting is to trick the body into thinking that there has been no or little change in calorie intake, therefore avoiding the body’s tendency to trigger survival mode.
Most traditional diets involve a reduction of calories in a consistent manner usually scheduling a number of meals/calories a day. Calorie shifting on the other hand involves eating a different amount of calories in a periodic manner so as to not allow the body to sense and adapt to calorie change. This can be achieved in a number of different ways.
Examples of calorie shifting
You may have a weekly calorie target and instead of breaking the calories evenly over 7 days, you may have different calorie intakes each day that still add up to equal your weekly calorie target.
Below is an example of calorie shifting for someone who is on 2011 calories day
However you choose to mix it up, the underlying goal remains the same i.e. to mix it up.
The claim is that a person who engages in calorie shifting is more likely to maintain weight loss and keep it off because the metabolism remains high and the diet is both unrestricted and subject to continuous change.
This allows for more of the foods you enjoy on a diet that can remain interesting. This takes away a major reason why other diets fail and that’s basically because they’re difficult and unenjoyable to commit to.
Calorie shifting, though not as restrictive as other diets that often involve starvation methods, still doesn't give you the green light to eat whatever you feel like. It is still based on eating healthy food through all parts of the food pyramid. You can’t eat empty calories like 10 chocolate bars one day and 10 packets of potato chips the next day and expect to trick the body into maintaining a high metabolism.
Contrary to the diet sounding like it is flexible, relaxed and diverse in the range of foods you can eat, the main diet that utilizes this approach is still quite structured and emphasises certain boundaries. The name of the diet however still advertises a high degree of success and ease going by the name of "The Idiot Proof Diet".
The diet involves eating 4 meals a day, which comes as no surprise given that more than 3 meals a day is widely accepted as being more conducive to a higher metabolism.
The main feature of the diet however lies in the menu generator. The user inputs foods that they enjoy and the menu generator produces a menu that incorporates the foods (within reason) that the dieter enjoys.
The menu is structured in a manner that works for calories shifting, so as well as specifying what you eat the menu generator specifies when you eat your meals. The calorie shifting diet puts a lot of emphasis on this timing of meals so that calorie shifting is effective.