You’ve probably heard the term “metabolic rate” or “metabolism”. Basically, your metabolic rate is how fast your body burns calories.
The faster your metabolism, the more calories you burn.
But did you know that reducing calorie intake (such as in most diets) can actually reduce your metabolic rate?
What does this mean? Basically, that when you first start your calorie restriction diet, you’ll lose weight because your body will be burning more calories than you’re feeding it. Great!
…But your body isn’t stupid. It knows it can’t keep this up for long, so since it thinks food is scarce, it does the only thing it can, it STOPS BURNING SO MANY CALORIES.
(As a side note, a “cheat day” will NOT solve this problem, but I’ll go into that another day)
What happens when you diet to the point that your metabolism slows down to match your calorie intake? …Weight loss stops.
Now most people, having lost some weight from the first wave of calorie restriction immediately assume they need to cut calories even more. Weight loss will start again; and then stop.
How long can you keep this up for? There’ll come a point when you can’t just stop eating.
This is where many people fall off their diet, because the lack of calories slowly shuts their body down. You feel terrible, have no energy, and your body will start to burn muscle tissue instead of fat; after all, muscle requires energy, from food which it’s not getting, so your body ditches the extra muscle to save on energy expenditure and you end up “skinny-fat” (a term used to describe people who are skinny, but with no muscle – think marathon runner)
We all know people, maybe you’re one of them, who seem to eat almost nothing and still don’t lose weight. This is why.
In the end, most of these people either carry on eating almost nothing and make themselves sick, or give up and go back to eating the same junk they were before. Except now your body is burning far fewer calories than it was originally (since you’ve slowed your metabolic rate down), so it can’t do anything with all this extra food except store it, as fat. Enter the yo-yo dieter!
Yes, a slight calorie deficit is necessary to aid weight loss, but if you can also ramp UP your metabolic rate (through exercise, and the right food selection), you’ll now be burning more calories (not less) without starving yourself. Energy levels will be good, your immune system won’t be compromised, and you’ll lose weight.
For help with your diet or exercise plan visit my website www.DartfordBootcamps.com
One-to-One and small group Personal Training, and outdoor fitness classes in Dartford, Kent.