I have clients that are terrified to eat. They are literally starving themselves because they have to eat less to lose weight. That is how they got overweight in the first place by eating more, right? You have to eat to lose weight. This is a tricky situation and we are going to try to sort it out.
How do we change this mindset? We need to eat but we have to able able to put on the breaks as well. The key is feeding your body just enough for daily functions and muscle gain without overeating. You might lose some weight if you are eating only 1000 calories a day but it will be mostly water and muscle mass, not fat. Any weight you lose this way will return pretty quickly.
Food for Thought
Let’s say you are a 215 lb male who is somewhat active. You have been consuming roughly 1,000 calories a day and you aren’t losing weight. What is the problem? You have no idea why not, you eat less you lose weight right? Let’s say you are somewhat active which means you are going to the gym between 2- and 5 days a week. Sometimes you are on the higher end at five workouts a week but you are at the lower end enough we will keep you at somewhat active.
On the days you are at the gym say you burn between 300-400 calories. That’s an hour of strength training and 30 to 40 minutes of cardio. Your body needs energy to fuel basic human functions. Eating 1,000 calories a day you are only leaving your body 600 calories to do everything necessary to keep you alive!
In your head you think awesome I’m going to lose so much weight so fast ! This isn’t exactly how it works. The body wants to live and on those kind of calories it’s not going to let go of a single drop of nutrients it gets. You have to eat to lose weight or your body is going to throw a stop sign right in front of your weight loss goals.
Undereating Causes Problems
Starving your body can lead to overeating and unhealthy binging. When your body goes into starvation mode it essentially starts living off of itself. It attacks your muscles so it can repair the other muscles that have been being used.
To prevent starvation mode you have to consume enough calories to feed your muscles. This allows your muscles to burn off stored fat energy.
Calories need to be monitored so you don’t go overboard, but you need to make sure you aren’t under eating as well. Knowing how many calories you are taking in is a good way to lose weight because it helps create a deficit between the calories you burn and those you take in. Your body needs to burn calories in the form of energy in order for you to lose weight.
Weight loss occurs when you have a good balance of calories going to energy for your body and you are not over eating extra calories that you cannot burn off. We can also burn extra energy through exercise. A diet containing between 1,200 and 1,400 calories is still considered low calorie, and will prompt weight loss in most people women. Men, because of their larger size and greater energy needs, might require 1,800 calories -2,000 calories per day to lose weight safely and to keep it off. If you are active this may be too few calories for you. It depends how many calories you are already burning a day.
The math and stuff. Ok we need to find our basic calorie needs to maintain our body weight. Our basic calorie needs are the calories we need to survive at our current weight. Everyone’s is different depending on things like age, height, weight, how active you are and if you know your body fat percentage. Then if we want to lose weight we take a bit from our calorie intake (our food) and exercise to burn some more of those calories. Our muscles need to be fed so we burn off calories of fat mass. That is where the magic number or sweet spot comes in.
Try out this caloric needs calculator to get a starting calorie range. Everyone is different so try these numbers for a few weeks and if nothing is happening adjust. This calculator shows your basic calorie needs if you want to lose weight you need to try to knock off 500 calories a day. You can do this by knocking off some calories from your food intake and exercise. After a few weeks you can adjust either your exercise level or your caloric intake. Monitor your results before adjusting too much so you have accurate results and know how to efficiently burn fat in the future.
There are more precise calculations available that require you to get skin-fold measurements to determine your body fat. If you are interested in learning more about those methods you can Contact me for further information.
So now you know you have to eat to lose weight! All things in moderation. We have to fuel our bodies in order for them to perform but we have to be careful that we aren’t putting too much gas in the take to cause overflow. How do you get enough calories in to lose weight but make sure your body is staying fed?