Eat Less, Exercise More. Simple?
It’s simple math! Eat less, exercise more!
How many times have you heard this? Or worse, how many times have you done this?
“Simple Math Equation”
Sometimes fat loss isn’t just as simple as “calories in equals calories out”. Until you experience otherwise, professionals will tell you it’s simple math. The math they aren’t taking into consideration is the rate at which your metabolism is operating.
One of the biggest mistakes I made during my weight loss journey, and I see countless others doing, is under eating! Calories in does not always equal calories out. (NOTE: This is my biggest pet peeve!) This “simple math” equation is actually much more complicated! (more on this later.) When you have this mind set you will most definitely run into road blocks at some time or another.
You have mechanisms within your cells that sense famine and trigger systems that aren’t necessary for survival to slow down. Experts say that those that diet for long periods of time, or those that yo-yo diet, can have a slowing down of the metabolism in only 24 to 48 hours. Your metabolism can drop anywhere from 10 – 30% in a couple of weeks. When your system slows down, on top of being down right tired, you will have hormonal imbalances, hair loss, GI slow down, and allergies, to name a few.
What’s Your Fuel Mileage?
How many times have you heard someone complaining of not being able to lose, yet they are doing everything “right”? They continue to tell you they have cut their calories and fat and added more cardio. What they don’t know is they are driving their metabolism to be more efficient.
More efficient sounds great, right!? Maybe when you’re talking about your gas mileage, but not when we are talking about fat loss. “More efficient” means your metabolism now needs less food in order to lose fat. If you consume even less calories than before to burn the same amount of fat, you slow your metabolism down even further. Do you see the vicious cycle? Now add more activity to the equation and your setting yourself up for failure, at worse a lifetime of busting your rear to lose or maintain your weight at the cost of your health! Now guess what happens when you go off that diet. You gain fat at a quicker rate than before. This definitely equals a hard fat loss journey. We actually want to be a gas guzzler to burn up all that fuel… FAT!
By following the #1 rule in fat loss – eat less, exercise more – you are hindering long term success, if any at all. You aren’t revving up your metabolism, which is your goal, you’re turning it down. In some cases you may be close to turning it OFF! Without adequate amounts of fuel your body will not respond the way you want it to. All forced progress will be mediocre or short lived. At worst, you’ll have to work twice to lose fat and equally as hard to maintain it.
Keep Your Engine Revved
Use the calorie calculator to help you find a starting point. (Click on “BMR and RMR Calculator”) Keep in mind finding your range requires trial and error. Everyone is different, and there are many variables that go into one’s daily needs. Remember it’s not always about simple math. (I’ll discuss the calorie cycle option in detail at a later time.)
When dropping calories think gradual (coaxing, not forcing). Decrease your calories no more than 200 at a time for at least 2 weeks before dropping them again. Never go below 500 calories of your maintenance calorie range (avg. daily calorie needs) for long periods of time. And you should absolutely NEVER go below 1200 calories.
If you’ve maintained a deficit for more than 12 weeks, I recommend cycling your calories back up (200 calories at a time every 2 weeks) until you reach your maintenance requirements. Stay there for at least a week (2 if you can handle it) and then cycle back down. This will help your metabolism stay revved up and continue burning fat!
Always consider your activity level when dieting. Eat plenty of wholesome foods and high quality supplements. If you are getting activity and eating from nature you shouldn’t have a problem losing weight (unless you have hormonal issues, thyroid dysfunction, or you’ve slowed your metabolism).