I’ve had this questions a lot recently with clients and learners to help them understand why they must change their thinking when it comes to the word ‘diet’ and ‘New Years Resolutions’.
It’s a crazy concept isn’t it…
Eating less to lose weight… I can see how it may make sense![I actually wrote a book about this… I’m going to release it back end of next week to help jump start your January efforts…. the link is at the bottom of the blog… Make sure you read on down first though].
If I put less in my body, I’ll be lighter and wont pile the calories on the old waist line.
This really isn’t true though… especially if you are looking to loose weight [more importantly fat mass] and keep it off].
Let’s start at the beginning. The word ‘diet’ simply refers to the foods you consume. Often ‘diet’ implies a specific intake of nutrition. For many, ‘dieting’ means restricting food intake and eating less in the hope that it results in weight loss.
The all important word in there was ‘hope’… “I ‘hope’ restricting my calories will result in weight loss”, there is very weak science here and ‘hope’ is not the strategy for results.
Thinking that restricting food and fewer calories results in weight loss is quite an outdated way of thinking.
Let’s dial into some Eating Less to Lose Weight science then…
When we set out to lower body fat, we burn this excess [timber] as fuel, at the same time muscle is also burnt.
If you’re are looking to achieve weight loss from restricting your food and calories then you must understand that fat is not the only thing you will loose during your weight loss campaign.
You will loose muscle as well. Which in turn means you will loose ability to store glycogen. Glycogen is the stored energy from your carbohydrate intake. Meaning, is where you get most of your daily energy from, especially during gym training sessions. Therefore, the lowered and damaged muscle and less glycogen means you can’t store as much fuel [energy] to complete your day.
Maybe this is why you feel horrendous, sluggish and irritable during your restricted diet?
What does this mean on the old weight loss scales…
Now you have lowered your ability to store carbohydrate [glycogen] you also store less water in the muscle as well. For every 1g of glycogen you store 3g of water.
So this would explain why you see great weight loss efforts in the first few days of your restricted calories. Most of the weight is depleted glycogen stores, depleted water stores and maybe just maybe a ‘little bit of that fat loss’!
Remember you are on a fat loss for health campaign, not just lower my body weight campaign.
I’m not saying restricted calories don’t work.
There are many of them out there and all work with varying degrees of success. However, maintaining the calorie restriction is often difficult. Ultimately the restricted approach supplies insufficient calories for the body to work optimally for true fat loss and maintenance of lean muscle.
Most diets focus heavily on Eating Less to Lose Weight with little thought to muscle maintenance and the role muscle plays in the weight loss campaign overall.
So, let’s dial in one more step…
The body likes to be stable, we call this homeostasis. Everything in the body must be balanced for example calories in and calories out.
When too little food is eaten, restricting calories to below what the body is used to, the body adapts to conserve fuel being burnt [calories out]. The body will now take energy from your muscle tissue, preserving body fat to keep your vital organs warm, functioning and in balance. This slows down the rate at which the body uses fuel [we call this your metabolism].
So, Eating Less to Lose Weight actually makes weight loss rather difficult!
When you restrict calories that body still requires a certain level of fuel to keep everything balanced and running optimally. If you don’t place this fuel in through calories that body naturally looks elsewhere. It doesn’t have to go very far… as essential nutrients are packed into muscles and organs.
The body will sacrifice muscle to survive during times of restricted calories and for a better word ‘fasting and famine’.
We can now really see how muscles are damaged during calorie restricted approaches. We literally canabolise the muscle in order to maintain balance and energy source in the body. The body is in a state of defense from the restricted calories, as a result will resist using fat as fuel.
This would also explain why we feel less energetic and less empowered to train at our maximum whilst on a restricting calorie diet.
Last point…. in fact, training and calorie restriction is the bodies worst nightmare. You are canabolising the body through diet and further breaking muscle tissue when you exercise. The body is already in defense mode, and can not optimally deal with the recovery needed post gym session to truly gain 100%.
So, in answer to the question: “If I simply eat less, I’ll burn fat and lose weight right?”
If you are kick-starting a New Years Resolution to loss weight, feel better, have clothes finally fit and generally feel more AWESOME… i’m just a few days away from releasing a fat loss book to truly guide all your efforts and see results. In essence, getting leaner, is all about smarter choices rather than fewer choices! Put your name on the list and be the first to read it: Yes, I want to read about getting leaner!
I’ll be launching this next week… I’m only releasing 25 copies so make sure you’re on the list!
Looking for more inspiration and info about eating and weight loss, try these:
To be honest the best place to head is our weekly dose… daily inspiration and stellar exclusive content every thursday. Follow the link below and i’ll see you on the inside: https://parallelcoaching.co.uk/weeklydose
Until next time
Neale ‘NOT restricting calories’ Bergman
PS– Had my ear glued to the phone today
and I love it…. Helping clients truly kick-start
They’re gonna do ACE, I know it!
If you wanna hook up and chat, debunk some myths and kick-start
Bring it on: Yer, let me book in!