The reason I’m writing this newsletter is because this topic I am about to discuss is probably the most common issue I see when starting to work with a client who’s frustrated with their lack of progress but ‘doing all the right things’.
Many of us know that you need to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight (eating less calories than you burn throughout the day). So, the less you eat the more you lose, right? Not quite, this is where things get tricky and people get stuck.
If you’re eating low calories & not losing weight, PAY ATTENTION!!
Long story short, when you eat in a calorie deficit, your metabolism begins to adapt to less food. Our bodies LOVE homeostasis and they adapt to these low calories by slowing our metabolisms. So although you may lose weight initially, weight loss will slow and eventually stop due to a lowered metabolism. The amount of calories that were once a deficit for you have now become your maintenance calories. When you lower your calories, you’re also lowering your metabolic rate (over time).
After an initial stall or plateau most people will lower calories even more, which at first will work but again, will stop eventually. You can only lower calories so far before you get into real trouble.
Eventually, your metabolism is going to be at a terrible place, your hormone levels will be all out of whack, you’ll be exhausted, tired, hungry and STILL overweight.
So what do you do? There are a couple of options I like to offer clients, both of which you have to be very patient with because it’s a gradual process. This is the hardest part but it pays off in the long run, I promise.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE EATING LOW CALORIES & NOT SEEING RESULTS:
1. Take a diet break. aka not starving yourself anymore. This does not mean say ‘F it’ and go eat everything. It just means allow yourself to make decisions based on your hunger but still balance your meals properly with reasonable portions of protein, fat, carbs & veggies.
2. Reverse dieting, this one is a bit more meticulous but does a great job in raising your metabolic threshold while gaining little to no fat (some people actually end up losing weight because they end up having less stress and more energy). Essentially, you add small amounts of calories from fats and carbs each week, to slowly allow your metabolism to come back up.
Both of these involve restoring your metabolism and hormones to healthy levels so you’ll be able to lose fat again (on higher calories), have more energy and feel better overall.
The biggest takeaway here is to understand that weight loss isn’t linear. Unfortunately our bodies are wired to be efficient and adaptive, which is why these options above are so important to consider. I have yet to have a client that has been disappointed by taking the appropriate time to build their metabolism back up. It’s hard knowing the end goal wont be reached immediately but it makes it that much more gratifying when you do get there and knowing you got there feeling better and not compromising your health.
If you are struggling with weight loss and feel you are already not eating very much, click that reply button. I’d love to help you get in a better place metabolically! And of course, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other weight loss or muscle gain questions, always here to help : )