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As we ease into 2013 and everybody and their dog embark on their own personal ‘get lean for 2013’ campaign I want to give you an insight as to what I am starting to see all too often when people aim to eat healthily. It’s a common misconception that in order to lose body fat you need to eat less and whilst this may be true for some of the world’s greediest people I am yet to meet one of them. In fact most people I meet under eat, yes you heard me correctly, under eat.
It seems that when people are consciously trying to watch what they eat in their quest for fat loss and health they quite literally starve themselves, think porridge for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch and chicken with veg for dinner. Now unless you weigh 40kg wet through you are not going to be consuming enough calories. Yes you will lose weight but that weight is going to be at the expense of muscle mass. This is the last thing you want when trying to reduce your body fat and ever have a chance of seeing your abdominals. Muscle mass is your engine, it’s what burns the calories and if anything you want to increase muscle mass and that is just not possible when you are starving yourself.
Another thing when under eating is that you will inevitably ‘fall off the wagon’. Your body is very clever, when you are not giving it enough fuel it will let you know. Your blood sugar levels will drop and you will get horrible cravings and you will eventually crack. This isn’t a lack of will power on your part but more a sign that you are not giving the body the fuel it needs. If you are fuelling the body correctly and giving it everything it needs to function optimally and cope with the day to day demands you place upon it then you shouldn’t crave crap food, you may want it but that is different to uncontrollable cravings.
So what it tends to look like is you have 3-4 days of being “good” (under eating) then on day 5 you crash, you feel horrible, tired and grumpy then eat everything in sight (over eat). You then swear to yourself it was a once off and you are back on it tomorrow. Sound familiar?
This form of eating is very stressful to the body and as you may know, stress can be very harmful to your fat loss goals. Your body will switch into survival mode meaning that the last thing it wants to do is preserve muscle mass and rid body fat, I mean, it’s struggling to survive here!
So as your body holds on for dear life its only option is to down regulate your thyroid. The thyroid is what drives your metabolism and metabolism is what burns calories, so now you are not only starving yourself, you are also training your body to burn less calories not to mention your energy levels have fallen through the floor and you now feel like crap. I think you will agree that this is not where you want to be in a few months’ time. So cut yourself some slack and don’t starve yourself.
Remember, muscle is an expensive luxury in terms of its caloric demands but necessary for your long term fat loss goals. Quick and, inevitably, short term weight loss is easy, don’t give your body enough calories and it will shed muscle. Smart and permanent fat loss requires a little more time and patience but will have you feeling and looking better in no time.
If you are unsure about your nutrition and would like some help in reaching your fat loss goals why not try out our W10 Performance Online Coaching Program. See our website for details.
I hope you have found this information useful and as always let me know your thoughts
Rob (W10’s shortest trainer)