Tuesday Tip: Don’t go too low 📉
It’s tempting when you start trying to lose weight to panic and cut calories drastically – because surely a bigger deficit means quicker results right? To a degree yes but…. It never really works and this is why.
Our bodies are designed and have evolved to essentially make losing weight and fat hard. Fat loss goes entirely against our main drive to survive so conserving energy and maximising fat storage is a good evolutionary strategy. If energy consumption (calories) are reduced drastically the body will adjust processes to ‘fit’ the calories you consume. Now this doesn’t mean you can put on weight if you eat too little – that’s just a myth. What it does mean though is that the body compensates for a lower energy intake by reducing energy expenditure.
It does this in two ways. Firstly it reduces NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), – these are the subconscious incidental movements and processes in your body e.g. your heart rate may slow, body temperature may change, and hormones such as leptin, T3 and T4 adjust to reduce energy expenditure. As a result your BMR may decrease.
In addition you will subconsciously move or fidget less than you usually would. So you may find you don’t stand up or tap your feet etc as much, you may be less inclined to take the stairs and take the lift instead, you may find you drive instead of walking places as much, you might not get up to go get things you’ve left in other rooms (e.g. not going upstairs to get the hoodie you want to wear and grabbing whatever is handy downstairs instead), not getting up to get a glass of water if you’re thirsty, feeling generally low motivation to exercise/walk etc. You probably won’t even notice you’re doing any of this.
So as you’ll be expending fewer calories the deficit you think you have becomes smaller. In addition you’ll feel low, hungry, tired and tend to obsess over food. This means the tendency to binge/overeat either when you have a ‘cheat’ day or when the diet ends is high. This is why you often find any weight you’ve lost will come back quite quickly.
So rather than heading straight in to an aggressive 800-1000 calories a day diet (for the umpteenth time in the past few years) try aiming for a higher number of calories with a smaller deficit. A smaller deficit allows you to thrive and stick to the newly acquired habits you need to stick to, consistently, to move towards your goals. Work more on delayed gratification. Something that takes longer but feels easier is far more likely to work out the way you want it to.
If this resonates but overwhelms you at the same time, that is also completely normal. We are designed to want instant gratification and results so it’s ok if it feels counterintuitive to start with. But trust me, stick with it and you’ll reap the benefits – play the long game!
Happy Tuesday 🤗xx