Adding in more calories to lose more fat? How crazy does that sound?!
This idea of adding more food into our diet is one that never fails to leave most people stunned and confused. One of the first things we encourage new clients to do here at W10, after performing an initial assessment, is to keep a food diary for a week or so. This allows us to see what their dietary habits are currently looking like and we can then highlight any areas that may need improvement and adjust accordingly.
Now, calorie counting is not for everyone, not everyone can or wants to adhere to a set intake of calories per day but it can be very useful during different points of a fat loss journey. Keeping a detailed food diary allows us to see where we are currently at in relation to our basal metabolic rate (the minimum amount of calories we require at rest for bodily function/s). Often we, as trainers, find that clients are under-eating causing fat loss methods to stall. Due to results being few and far between, the first things people tend to do is to up their training. Doing this subsequently puts the body into a severe calorie deficit. The increase in training variables becomes ineffective and pointless because our bodies are not being given the fuel required in order to properly grow and repair lean muscle tissue, especially surrounding workouts.
Once we have gathered the information from the InBody software and food diaries our first step is to introduce good quality food. By simply making these initial dietary changes you will often see some great fat loss results. If we can get the basics right first i.e. ensuring we are eating good quality sources of protein, carbs and healthy fats, it provides a solid foundation for further adjustments when the time is right and dependant on our overall goals. Bearing this in mind it’s important to note that calories shouldn’t be brought back in too quickly as the body needs time to adjust to all this new food its getting. Calories should be brought back in slowly with the amounts being entirely dependant on our body composition. For example, some of us can handle a lot more carbs than others and therefore will need a larger amount in their diet for optimal results and vice versa. Some of us will get to a point where our calories do need to be very specific but this is entirely dependant on our overall goals. We can then start to look at nutrient timing and other advanced nutritional strategies. However, for the majority of us, simply eating more of the right kinds of foods (especially more veggies and healthy fats!), combined with an effective individualised training programme, produces great and more importantly, sustainable results in the long term. Try not to set time constraints on lifestyle changes, as it often becomes unmanageable and unattainable. Changing diet, exercise habits and thought processes takes time; time for adaptation, implementation and above all, manageability. Achieving optimal health and fitness shouldn’t be seen as a set of quick fixes, instead, consider it as an educational journey.
Using an example, consider our bodies as cars. Cars need fuel to function else they just break down. We wouldn’t expect our car to work on an empty tank would we? Well, our bodies are the same, we need fuel to burn fat and to burn fat we need muscle. This makes it very difficult to burn fat and build muscle at the same time if we aren’t metabolically active enough. Continuously following a low calorie diet will slow down our metabolism and subsequently cause our bodies to store fat rather than burn it. The complete opposite of what we want to achieve, hence why we often see plateaus in our fat loss journey.
So if you can relate to any of this article and appear to have stalled in reaching your fat loss goals, ensure you are meeting your calorie requirements and if you aren’t – then try gradually adding in more calories and fire up that metabolism!