If you have been following our blogs for a while you will know that it is not uncommon for us to suggest that people actually eat more than they currently are, if they want to lose body fat. It seems counterintuitive, but for some people, their lack of nutrients is actually what is holding them back.
You need to “fuel performance”. Nutrition, along with sleep, hydration and other lifestyle factors, plays a pivotal role in the way we feel and they way we perform in the gym. It is not uncommon for people who eat very little, or who eat the wrong things, to turn up to the gym feeling tired and lethargic. Hats off that you got to the gym in the first place, but it is highly unlikely that you are going to be able to at an intensity needed to elicit adaptations. Not to mention that you’ll feel pretty shitty throughout the session.
As long as you are eating the right foods, primarily those from the green an orange section of our nutritional Nutrition Made Simple traffic light system, you can rest assured that you will not be gaining weight with every mouthful. It is tempting to cut calories rapidly, as it is true that you do need to be in a calorific deficit to lose body fat, but more is not better, and the answer is not to take it to the extremes and create a huge deficit. You might lose a significant amount of weight initially, but it might not all be fat (not good), and you will see your energy levels plummet.
When people who have been in ‘under-eating’ gradually start to increase their calories, the feedback is usually that their energy levels are much higher, they fell on a more even keel and they have more motivation to train. The antiquated “eat less train more” might sound great on paper, but if you are not putting enough fuel in your body, or if you are eating the wrong foods, you will not only deplete you body of nutrients in the long term, you will almost certainly not reap the rewards from your training.
As a side note, keeping a food diary, or using an app such as myfitnesspal, is usually a real eye opener for many people. The majority of us have no real idea what we are putting in our body and the impact that it is having on our gym and overall day-to-day performance. Recording everything that you eat everyday isn’t for everyone, and I totally get that, but doing it for two or three days gives you a good insight into your habits, and is likely to lead to more mindful and positive choices going forward.