One of the biggest things women do wrong when they are trying to lose weight.
This one has me shaking my head every time. Mostly because I have been guilty of it in the past as well.
Calories can get a bad rap. I can’t even count how many times I have had a new client show up for the initial interview with her journal of what she has been eating, so proud at how she has cut her calories. She thinks she is doing everything right, but is just so confused as to why she isn’t losing any weight. It drives me crazy!
She isn’t eating!!!!
She is adamant that this is the only way she is going to lose weight. Cutting her calories to the extreme. She read it somewhere. Ugh As soon as I respond about her lack of calories and suggest we up her calorie intake. I get looks of absolute horror. I can’t possibly ask her to do that!!!
Let me explain some things.
Starvation can create a number of negative effects such as a slow metabolism or a slower fat-burning process. When she is trying to lose weight with months and months of less than a 1000 calories per day and an almost 200 pound body weight her metabolism is at a stand still. It’s running cool, not hot. It’s barely running. When the body is starved of energy, it begins storing everything that is consumed. If your goal is to lose weight, you may experience a serious plateau as your body begins holding onto every calorie consumed.
Other Side Effects
Side effects of consuming too few calories include constipation, cold hands and feet, constipation, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, irritability, hypothermia, decreased muscle mass and hypoglycemia. If an individual continues this type of eating pattern for an extended period of time, serious health problems can occur, including renal failure, anemia, bowel obstruction and nerve compression. She isn’t doing herself any favors.
Calories fuel the body. We need them, just as we should be able to enjoy the foods that provide them, There’s nothing bad about calories, and it doesn’t always come down to the simple equation of calories in versus calories out. You have to keep in mind here, not all calories are created equally.
So what is the bottom line?
Basically her metabolism has just gotten used to her intake. She could, probably, lose weight but she’s in that weird area where she is eating too few calories but not quite at the starving herself level yet.
Her body in response to the lack of calories has maximized production of enzymes that are designed to help store any additional calories as fat. So that means that anytime additional, unnecessary calories are consumed the enzymes are there and waiting to store the additional calories as fat. Her body is in survival mode.
But since certain enzymes are elevated, waiting for more calories so more body fat can be stored, every bowl of ice cream she breaks down and has, or every weekend pizza feast will contribute to fat stores.
So on the days she’s not binging her body does not lose fat, or if it does, it’s very little. Besides it is most like muscle she is losing anyway. The body will want to hold onto the fat since it is starving. And on the few days she does binge a bit her body is quite efficient at storing the fat. So, while she may lose a wee bit of fat from starving it is quickly replaced with every binge.
And, I am not saying these binges need to be huge either. Every little thing make a difference since most binges are high in carbs and /or fat everything will go directly into fat stores.
So, What does she do now?
We have to get her eating more. Yes the look of horror I spoke about earlier. Not only do we have to get her eating more, but more of the right foods need to be eaten. Foods lower in fat that aren’t as easily KEPT as body fat have to be consumed.
So………..I am going to suggest she eats at least 1300 calories a day. Really, I would like to see 1500-calorie per day average. But she is majorly horrified at even the 1300 so I am taking things slow. I am trying not to freak her out too much.
For months she’s been eating less than 1000 calories a day. So to her, 1500 calories is just inconceivable.
I have to be honest here.
Because she has been living on protein with binges of carbs and fats she is likely to see a weight gain right away. It’s true.
Once we begin really feeding her body with nutritious protein and carbohydrates so she can become more active. It is then that her glycogen-depleted body will hang on to some of those carbohydrates so she has stored energy for activity.
When her body hangs on to those carbohydrates it has no choice but to hang on to more water too. For all the carbs she stores she’ll hang onto more water too. Sorry ladies. I know this totally sucks.
But this isn’t a bad thing. Although I know for the first little while, she will not feel the same way when she steps on the scale.
She may see a three to five pound weight gain when she really starts eating properly again. It will likely stay for a couple weeks. It is hard for her to see the pros here. I know, I speak from experience here myself. This is one of those times when she is going to have to take a few steps back before she can take a big leap forward.
The meal plan will seem like so much food at first. It is likely she will have to force herself to eat the recommended meals in a day. But, come on. She has only been eating less that 1000 calories a day. She’s just not that hungry. So it is going to take a few days for the meal plan to be eaten in any kind of regularity.
But it slowly starts to take affect. She is eating the required at least 1300 calories a day and even doing the 1500 calories a day a couple times a week. She is starting to lose weight. Oh my gosh! She has lost a couple pounds!!!
She has more energy! Progress!!!
She didn’t give up too soon. She trusted me to coach her. She is another of my success stories.
Are you in the same boat?
Let me tell you.
It’s going to take effort to overcome the mental hurdles of eating more food. I see it all the time. It is truly one of the biggest things women do wrong when they are trying to lose weight on their own. There are so many diet plans out there that focus solely on cutting the calories to the extreme. We have become brainwashed.
It is also going to be hard to see the increase in scale weight that is going to occur in the beginning.
The process works. You just have to believe. You will lose weight.
It’s going to take some time for the glycogen levels to be replenished and level out. It’s going to take some time for your mental attitude to change.
It’s going to take some time before hunger signals are restored to anything close to normal.
It’s going to take time for the metabolism to get back to normal and not be in its protective mode.
If this is you, and you are going to do what I have outlined in this post.
You need to know. You need to be aware. You will probably see the scale go up when calories are consumed at reasonable levels again and carbohydrates are reintroduced. Live with it. Deal with it. It’s going to happen. 98% of the gain will be water.
Once you are consuming the right types of food and the right caloric intake is consumed and the right ratios of carbohydrates, proteins and fats are consumed on a consistent basis, then, and only then, will metabolism begin to be restored and the key to fat loss be inserted into the lock with a noticeable drop in the scale resulting.
This may take an additional two to four weeks to occur. Your metabolism is never unfixable. But it may take several weeks of proper eating and activity for it to be restored.
From day one, until the first, noticeable drop in the scale occurs, it may be four to six weeks–or even longer. But stick with it.
At least 2 liters of water a day will help as well.
You can do this. I am here if you need me!!
A lot of failed “I need to lose weight” plans fail because you haven’t set your goals. You haven’t figured out what your why is for great motivation. This is why I brought life coaching into my personal training business. They go hand in hand.
Check back often here at Myjinxedlife. I am in the process of designing a meal plan and home workout course for the every day woman that will be available the next couple months.
You can start here with The Weight Loss Mindset 6 Ways To Get It Right
Or sign up to receive My Free Fatblaster Meal Plan and get started ASAP.
Don’t want to sign up for the meal plan? Here is my post on My Five Best Healthy Snacks to get you started.
Loving life one day at a time