In an industry that promotes restriction, deprivation, and calorie cutting, its no wonder people think they need to eat less to lose more. The health, fitness, and diet industries are notorious for promoting unsustainable and unrealistic diet plans that will no doubt have detrimental effects on your metabolism in the future.
From personally working with hundreds of men and women wanting to lose weight and unwanted bodyfat, one common thread has emerged, and that is: Most people need to eat more to lose more!
Sound counter intuitive? You bet it does, but hear me out for a second.
Many clients tell me the following when we discuss their nutrition:
All of these statements are WHY they/you aren’t losing weight, losing inches, seeing changes, and making progress.
Everyone has heard about diets like HCG and the doctor supervised ultra low calorie diets. The thing is, ultra low calorie diets may be setting you up for some unintended consequences, as well as sabotaging your efforts to lose fat and tone. At our Calgary bootcamp, new members who are doing their first consultation are quite often surprised when I tell them to increase their calories!
Many are skeptical that eating more will actually help them lose fat, but those that trust my advice and the years of experience in our Calgary bootcamp and increase the amount they’re eating ,often see a significant increase in their wellbeing as well as see those numbers on the measuring tape and scale start to decrease. Why?
It breaks down into two parts: Physiological reasons and emotional/mental reasons.
On the physiological side of the coin, the consequences of severe calorie restriction (less than 1200 calories/day) are:
- Loss of muscle mass. When you are consuming ultra low calories and your bodies demands are greater than the supply, the body will turn to muscle tissue for fuel needs. Your muscle mass will be broken down both to satisfy your immediate energy needs as well as to reduce future energy needs. Muscle is metabolically active and every pound of muscle you build needs fuel every day.
- Low energy and low focus. Your brain and body just don’t get the fuel that they need to have. You may experience fatigue, headaches, an inability to focus and a general sense of being run down. You will find it difficult to get motivated to work out and find it hard to use proper form when you do manage to get to bootcamp class, which can lead to injuries.
- Slower recovery time from workouts and injuries. Your body just can’t repair damage as quickly so when you get sick, you’re miserable for longer and when you work out, you don’t recover well.
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies. I hate to break it to you, but taking a multivitamin isn’t going to assure that you aren’t deficient. Most people don’t know that multivitamins generally don’t absorb well in your body, unless you are going for a very high end, plant sourced one that will probably cost as much as your car payment.
- Potentially permanent effect on metabolism. You have basically told your body that there is a famine going on and that you are starving. The body reacts in a set way – when you begin eating normally again your body will store all it can to prevent the same thing from happening, which leads to rebound weight, aka the diet yo-yo. Essentially, you are PROGRAMMING your body to become fat storing by consuming low calories, not fat burning.
- Decreased thyroid output. When you cut calories too low and for too long, you decrease your bodies’ ability to produce T3 and T4 hormones, critical to fat loss, a healthy metabolism, and a healthy body temperature.
The mental/emotional components are just as powerful and stressful.
- Cravings explode. You may have heard someone say that the cheesecake was calling their name. It can. Your body craves things because you are deficient in them. If you are getting cravings for salty things, you may not be including enough fat in your diet. If you are getting cravings for sweet things, you are likely deficient in complex carbs.
- Unhealthy foods engender feelings of failure. If you are setting your standards too high, when consume unhealthy foods you may experience an emotional rebound that affects your self esteem and can compound emotional issues around eating.
- Cuts into your social life. It’s very hard to go out with friends or have dinner at a family occasion when you are so severely restricting calories.
What do I recommend? In initial assessments at my Calgary bootcamp, I counsel my clients who want to lose fat to have a caloric intake of 10-12 x their bodyweight. So, if my client weighs 150 lbs, I recommend that they eat between 1500 and 1800 calories per day. Those calories should be 40% carbs, 35% protein and 25% fat and should be from natural, whole foods, not processed. If you’ve never eaten this way before, you will be amazed at how much food you can eat when you get rid of all the processed foods. You will feel extremely fully, satisfied, and experience decreased cravings.
This will ensure that you have the energy you need to get you through your entire day and for workouts at my Calgary Bootcamp, as well as build the muscle mass that will help you so much more in the long run.
So remember, to Lose More You MUST Eat more. Don’t buy into the hype and marketing of crash diets, low carb and low fat, unsustainable eating plans, and bogus science diets are built on. The magic is always in the Basic Principles Folks.
Always here to Inspire and Motivate You, David Macdonald