I have found it all too common over the years that people who are trying to lose weight still believe the notion that cutting down on their calories will do the job.
I have had so many clients ask me how many calories they should be consuming and why they have not lost weight after reducing their calorific intake.
The answer I give is always the same and is very simple – you should never cut calories.
While this may be a short-term fix it is certainly not sustainable in the long term.
Diets do not work.
The good news is that we don’t have to starve ourselves or spend countless hours in the gym in order to lose weight.
We just need to learn how to eat right to bring the body into balance. Calorie restriction disrupts important hormones and enzymes.
Every single time you skip a meal, our stress hormones get elevated.
The liver responds to this by releasing stored glycogen to raise our blood sugar, as the body believes it is in a life-threatening situation.
Therefore, every time you miss out on breakfast or lunch the body is going back and forth between increasing and decreasing blood sugar levels, which is another stress to the body!
An overstressed body is not an optimal environment for weight loss.
It is not only skipping meals that play havoc with our hormones.
Eating too much carbohydrate will also cause a spike in blood sugar and consequently the body releases insulin to bring the blood sugar levels back down.
Skipping meals or not eating enough protein and fats will make the body think it is in famine. As the body is uncertain whether you will eat anytime soon, it is forced to store energy whenever it’s supplied.
Luckily, active muscles are very receptive to insulin so usually the insulin stores sugar in the muscle cells so it’s ready to be used for fuel when the muscles start moving.
This is great if you are following a resistance training program but if you’re not and your muscles are predominately inactive then all this extra sugar has to be stored in the fat cells!
Resistance training is not enough on its own though as once the active muscle cells are full then the unwanted sugar has no where else to be stored apart from our fat cells.
This is essentially how we become fat and build up insulin resistance.
Fat accumulation around the mid-section is a sure sign that you’re becoming insulin resistant and once the fat cells are full around the belly area the fat starts to spread to the hips and backside.
When our muscle and fat cells become less sensitive to insulin, our blood sugar levels become too high and the pancreas has to overwork to try in vain to drop the blood sugar.
Dieting, cutting calories and lack of exercise all ultimately lead to Type 2 Diabetes.
When stress hormones in the body are elevated all the time it puts the body in a constant fight-or-flight state and this can unsurprisingly leave you feeling tired and lethargic.
So what do most of us do when we feel this way?
We grab a convenient stimulant like junk food, tea, coffee, soda or any energy drink we can find.
But this further activates the fight-or-flight state and releases more stress hormones and requires even more stimulates to get the same effect leading to addictions to sugar and caffeine to name a few.
So, it is clearly evident how skipping meals, cutting calories and not eating the right ratio of carbohydrate, fats and protein have a direct hormonal consequence.
This is why diets do not work.
The final point to realise is how our body uses calories to keep the body running and staying healthy:
- 50-70% of all calories we consume are used just to stay alive.
- 5-15% of calories are used for elimination and digestion of our food.
- 100-1000+ calories are used for our daily activities. The more active we become, the greater calories are needed.
- The ‘X Factor’. This is a variable based on several genetic, hormonal and environmental factors and varies from person to person. Stressors such as job and relationship challenges all affect our metabolism.
It is important to remember that at any time you try to run your body without adequate fuel, the right mix of carbohydrate, fats and protein and poor food quality all increase your chances of slowing down the metabolism and becoming fat.
Get the body of your dreams by never cutting calories again.