I have heard this lots recently people saying that the reason they are not losing weight is because they are not eating enough. I am hearing it more and more and probably down to certain Fitness “gurus” perpetuating this myth.
Let’s be clear the ultimate criteria of whether your current food intake (and activity level) constitutes whether you are gaining, losing or maintaining weight is what is happening to your body weight or body fat. If your weight is going up and your clothes are getting tighter-
No matter what or how much you think you’re eating, what you have entered into My Fitness Pal, or the calories given by your trainer as an estimate-
You're clearly eating too much for your activity level and need to scale back your food intake, alcohol intake, increase your activity levels, or all 3 to get your body weight under control. You need to find a way of eating that you can adhere to and get into a calorie deficit.
FAT LOSS FUNDEMENTALS- The Energy Balance Equation
Human physiology complies with the 1st law of thermodynamics and in order to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you take in.
Energy in= Calories consumed (protein, fat, carbs, alcohol)
Energy out= Activity levels, thermic effect of food, Basel Metabolic Rate (BMR), Non exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)
Weight loss= You burn more calories than you consume
Weight gain= Consume more calories than calories you expend.
Any changes in body weight is associated with the imbalance between the energy content of food eaten and energy expended by the body in order to maintain life and perform activities. The differences between intake and output will then show up in energy stores in the body (e.g. Body fat).
Ah but my metabolism will slow I hear some say!
When you expend more calories than you consume you will lose weight, your body will adjust to this and metabolism will slow which is natural. You then have to find a way to adjust your eating to maintenance or if you want to lose weight cut more calories again. If you eat more calories you will start to regain weight.
This is where a lot of very low calorie diets fall down, people don’t have a maintenance plan and start eating the way they were before, then regain the weight. (Another pitfall with very low calorie deficit diets can be where people get so hungry it leads them to binge on calorie dense foods , which can lead to an overall calorie surplus)
The whole argument about starvation mode is extremely exaggerated. Starvation is starvation, not skipping meals here and there or a couple of hundred calories per day deficit. If you were in starvation mode you would be extremely lean not overweight. With out being flippant you don’t see people in concentration camps or famine hit areas overweight. How come it just seems to be in the western world where there is abundance of high calorie foods this phenomena seems to happen when people are overweight and their bodies go into “starvation mode” ??!
Let’s be honest and to the point-
The most likely explanation why people gain weigh or struggle to shift weight is taking in more calories than is being expended it is very easy to underestimate the calorie contents of the food and alcohol we have consumed.
FITNESS, NUTRITION & PERSONAL TRAINING