So you started the new year strong, joined a gym, started doing cardio every day, started watching what you eat, mainly counting calories like a crazy person to make sure you didn’t go over that magic number around 1200 or something stupid like that. Yes I said stupid. You are eating stuff that says “healthy” on the package so it must be right? And it only has 100 calories for the whole pack…. Not going down this road again as I have written a whole other blog devoted to 100 calorie pack crap, BUT I am going to let you know how living like this can actually HINDER your weight loss.
First off let me say that it is great you are taking the initiative to better yourself and your health by doing what you think is right from all the media and marketing claims in the world today. Seriously, it is a good thing you are trying I mean that! But I want to tell you how you can actually be doing your metabolism a disservice. When you start limiting yourself to X amount of calories a day the weight will start to fall off, adding cardio to the mix helps too, but then you start depleting muscle (reference my Blog on women and weights). So combining the two gets some weight off…. At first…. Then it stops….and you can’t figure out why?! Well here ya go….
Your body needs a substantial amount of calories made up of the right macros (protein, complex carbs and healthy fats) to function at full capacity. When it is not getting enough of them and you have added a good amount of exercise to the mix, after the initial weight has fallen off your body will start holding onto anything it has left because guess what? Your body actually needs fat to survive! When this happens it starts messing up with parts of your body that affect your metabolism. (Just in case you are not sure what your metabolism is/does it basically is a combination of factors that work together to break down nutrients in your body for energy). Many key components to your body’s ability to burn fat will be affected ——-
- Muscle mass depletion. Everyone has muscle, some much more than others. Muscle is one of the bodies best components to burning fat, that is why I emphasize that strength training is soooo important for everyone! Muscle requires a substantial amount of calories to maintain and when your body is trying to conserve the last bit of fat it has… it starts burning muscle…. KEEP EATING
- Your thyroid is also affected. The thyroid has many duties but one being metabolism of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in your body to use as energy. When you are not eating enough of these it can cause your thyroid function to decrease… causing you to slow down your ability to lose weight.
- Low energy levels. When you are not eating enough your brain can actually signal decreased motivation due to its lack of energy being produced….. decreased leptin levels are also associated with this (not always a bad thing but can lead to overeating as a result… and then that metabolism is heading towards being messed up.
The above are just some of the factors associated with not enough calorie intake. When you mess with any of them it can be that much harder to try to get back to a normal level of hormonal balance in the long run. I.E. when you try to eat what you should have been eating to begin with, your body’s metabolism will have been slowed down…. Causing the extra calories to be stored as fat. It is a slow process of repairing a damaged metabolism. It can be done though! I have been there….years ago….true story! That is why I am so passionate to make sure my clients know how much they SHOULD be eating! I had to learn that food IS my friend, on average I eat about 2000 calories a day now. Even when I was competing I never dropped below 1700!
Now I am speaking calories, but of course I do not mean just eat anything, you need to eat WHOLE, RAW, REAL foods the majority of the time. Those calories should be made up of the macros mentioned earlier. If you are just about to start a diet/ lifestyle change I can help, as a Fitness Nutrition Specialist I can get you the advice and guidance you need to do this in the right way and not have to make a major lifestyle change (aka be a hermit and live out of plastic food baggies).
Find out more here on how to I can help with guidance and ID Life!
PS— I am not saying it is ok to eat hamburgers everyday (moderation!!! ) since I am eating one in the pic! That was at a time when I was TOOOOOO Skinny and trying to learn to eat more.