Why Eating Less ≠ Burning Fat and Losing Weight
I want to look great. You want to look great. Whether it's the first or last thing (say) we think about, aesthetics is something we all primarily care about. It's not vain, it's human. It's okay. We can change our hair easily with little brain power. We just do it. We can change the types of clothing we wear, or how much or little makeup we wear, and those take little effort to modify. Maybe a little more money and time to modify, but we are willing to do it. But when it comes to our weight, all of a sudden, we now have this notion that fell out of the sky that we should eat less, and then we'll lose weight. Nope. Not the case at all.
You say all you eat are salads, you workout everyday, you drink only water, but you're not seeing any results. There's a slight issue that comes with this way of thinking. We put so much pressure on ourselves to do this one thing - lose weight - that we are now starting to introduce stress into our lives that we didn't even know we had, and this stress is secreting a hormone in us that is causing us to not lose the weight we are working so hard to lose.
It's doesn't have to be that we actually work "so hard" to lose the weight. While my story of weight loss and fitness may be different from yours (gaining some additional weight after a major surgery and training my brain to go off training mode and into staying healthy mode), it doesn't take away from the fact that FOOD is one of the main culprits that prevents us from the weight loss goals that we are looking to achieve.
I love myth-busting (I attribute it to my controller personality). Food has the biggest whopper-sized myths that people believe without a shadow of doubt. Well, I'll be here all month, busting up myths around why the food you consume (or don't) is giving you hell in the weight loss department.
This whole "eat less and lose weight" is one of the largest myths in the history of weight loss. Let's get straight to the point; eating less and working out more to lose weight does three main things to your body:
- Slows your metabolism down - When you're not eating, you're slowing your metabolism down. You not only stop fat burning, you induce fat STORAGE (increasing weight gain). Your body needs something to let it know that it can still function. Unfortunately, it's going to hold on to the fat because it needs something to try to regulate glycogen levels. If you don't replenish those levels, your body uses that energy up to maintain blood sugar, and starts burning muscle tissue (we'll talk more about metabolism in another post).
- Over time, puts you at risk to be malnourished - Being well nourished, we can expect our bodies to have enough fuel to help us perform for up to 3 months from just muscle tissue and fat. But after many days or weeks of not eating, that metabolism slows way down, our bodies go into starvation mode, and start burning muscle tissue and our organs start to malfunction. You think you're losing weight, and actually, you are essentially wasting away. This is such a detriment to our bodies.
- Knocks you off a healthy sleeping pattern - When your sleep gets knocked out of whack, especially from poor eating habits, your body isn't getting the time it needs to rebuild and repair itself. When you eat refined carbs, sugar and processed grains, you spike your blood sugar levels. You get a rush. You may not fall asleep until 2am. Your body begins to function in a way that your fat cells soak up all the calories, but they aren't providing your body the energy that it needs to burn that fat. All it does is make you sluggish. Yes, you get sleepy, but when you sleep, your body can't even do its job of fat-burning because it's busy slowing down trying to find the actual energy it needs to burn fat. You're not getting true restful sleep. You're not sleeping at the right times because of the sugar rush. You're not allowing your body to do the job it needs to so you can lose weight. You're doing the complete opposite and you end up gaining weight. These are where those "mystery pounds" come from.
You body was built for survival. Sure, you can go on intermittent fasting and your body may lose some weight. That's okay. But to go weeks or months and not nourish your body properly, taking on these fad diets that claim to help you lose weight? That is a recipe for NON-weight loss. Anything that is a fad diet WILL help you in the short term to lose weight. The lemonade diet and things of that nature will aid in preliminary weight loss to help you get into that outfit for your reunion, but you're depriving your body of much needed protein vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. As soon as you stop that diet, guess what's going to happen to all that weight? I'll let you marinate on that thought.....
BUT THERE'S HOPE. Some things you can do to ensure healthy weight loss.
- GET SLEEP. Not just any kind of sleep. Get restful sleep, get enough sleep, sleep at the right times.
- EAT QUALITY FOOD. Eat small meals every 3 hours. Eat protein throughout the day at every larger meal. Eat your largest meal for breakfast. Eating quality WHOLE FOOD is the biggie because WHAT you eat is almost more important that the exercise you do after you've fueled your body. Quit the refined carbs and processed sugar. All those foods that are advertised to make you think you're going to lose weight by eating them are riddled with these hidden sugars that screw with your hormones, making you store fat and burn muscle mass.
- EXERCISE REGULARLY. No one said you have to be a mad man in the gym. As a matter of fact, you really don't even need a gym. You can do a perfectly good workout at home, within 30-45 minutes, with minimal equipment, and still lose weight in a healthy way that isn't a chore to do.
All of this together is what helps you burn more calories without you having to think that it's "hard" to do so. And as a bonus tip, an accountable, positive, progressive mindset is what's going to push you towards your best version of yourself. Be accountable by writing your thoughts down, writing your meals and snacks down, and writing down your workouts. Now, THIS is the complete recipe for weight loss success.
I've got a new mantra for you; Eat more to lose more. That way, you won't need to DO "all the things" you think you need to do. Keep it simple and weight loss will happen.
What are you doing to lose more weight and keep it off? Do you yo-yo diet, or do you conquer and then create higher fitness goals?