To lose weight, you’ve got to cut calories, right? WRONG!
I am so fed up with hearing and seeing all these BS “shake diets”, and glorified fitness bimbos and boofheads giving out calorie restricting based nutrition plans to both men and women wanting to loose weight..
The secret to weight loss is extremely simple: Maths.. Forget diet shakes and the rubbish ab belt thingamajigs that you see on tele marketing. Weight loss comes down to one very simple mathematical equation: Energy in, Minus Energy out.
To drop body fat, you MUST be BURNING more calories than you consume. This puts your body into a state where it hasn’t got enough energy coming in from food, so in order to sustain the energy you’re expending, it taps into its stored energy (body fat) to keep itself functioning.
While there are a lot of complicated factors and mechanisms involved in fat burning, but this is the ‘nutshell’ that you guys NEED to know.
So if we rely on a reduced calorie diet for fat loss, then why don’t we just go super low on calories, get lean really fast, and save ourselves months of hard work?
Because it’s the stupidest load of crap ever! Here’s why:
- To maintain your current body weight, you must consume the same number of calories as you expend in a day. To lose fat, you must expend more calories than you consume. When you do this, the body is forced to tap into the energy stored in fat cells to meet your daily energy needs.
- To lose 0.5kg of fat, you need a calorie deficit of approximately 3,500 per week.
- That means you must burn 3,500 calories more than you consume (not restrict 3,500 calories!!).
So quick side note, this is where that advice of cutting calories by 200 per day comes from and exercising 300 calories a day – a 500 daily deficit leads to a 3,500 weekly deficit, which equates to 0.5kg of fat loss.
This is a healthy rate of dropping body fat, dropping too much too soon can wreak havoc with you body..
I blame the media and money hungry corporations who take advantage of peoples desperation to lose body fat by promising them amazing results in little to no time at all.. They sound too good to be true.
TV shows like “The Biggest Loser” draw in millions of viewers each week, for one simple reason they’re EXTREME.
Contestants are put on gruelling exercise regimes, trainers act like raging bulls on steroids, the weight loss that occurs on a weekly basis, is, quite frankly, staggering. (one reason for this is that the actual weigh ins aren’t on a weekly basis) mind blown??
The contestants do often lose up to and above 5 kilos in a single 1-2 week period.
So you might not be starting as heavy as them, you’d think that losing perhaps half of this per week is achievable..
This is the same reason why fad diets, such as super low-carb ketogenic plans, fasting diets, detoxes, and the rest of them all sell in such high numbers.. They all promise rapid weight loss.
The words “sustainable”, “moderation” and “healthy” don’t feature at all in the sales pitch of any of these products. These words aren’t sexy, and sex is what sells.
This is why people want weight loss right now! Because they want to be sexy right now!
When it comes to weight loss, people want it quick.
Ever heard the expression ‘a job worth doing is worth doing well’? Because the idiots who create and preach this non sense clearly haven’t!
The Cons of Low-Calorie Dieting
Before you get too caught up in the numbers, and start imagining the weight falling off you at the speed of light, there are several potentially severe health concerns we NEED to look at.
First of all, low-calorie diets are simply not sustainable.
There’s a reason why all those shake diets and dramatic calorie restricting plans are set up to only last a few days, or at the absolute most, a couple of weeks – it’s because you simply cannot continue them for any longer than that.
We all have something called our Basel Metabolic Rate. Which is how many calories our body requires to exist and function normally when we completely asleep in the middle of the night.. Generally these diets cut this number by 500 to sometimes 800 calories per day.
So if you think about that for a second.. If you need X amount of calories in order for you body to function at complete rest.. then factor in waking up your whole day (which hopefully involves a training session) which is going to require more calories, and you’re already 500-800 behind.. How is your body supposed to function the way it should? How is your metabolism suppose to remain healthy? How is your body suppose to regulate insulin? How is your heart suppose to pump blood around your body the way in should?
Willpower and drive doesn’t come into it. From an energy standpoint, your body simply WON’T function on that few calories.
Not only will you feel like absolute crap! Your body will slowly start to slow down.
Have you noticed, that when you diet, and your body weight goes down, it gradually becomes harder to lose weight?
You might lose 2 kilos in your first week, 1 kilos a week for the next couple, then it’s down to 0.5 kilos a week, and before you know it, you’re struggling for every 0.25kg on the scale.
This is due to a few factors.
As your bodyweight drops, you just require fewer calories to maintain your energy expenditure.
When working out your required calorie intake, you base it off your current bodyweight. For instance, if you take your bodyweight and an activity factor, you’ll get the theoretical number of calories you should eat daily to lose weight.
An example would be a female weighing 60kg.
If she was mildly active, she might multiply her bodyweight by an activity factor of around 22 to 24, giving her a required daily calorie intake of between 1,320 and 1,440 (this is a BASIC way of working out your metabolic rate).
Obviously, even if her activity levels stayed the same, during the course of a diet, she’ll get lighter, therefore that calorie intake needs to drop.
Secondly, adaptations in metabolism.
As much as calories vs calories out matters, and we try to keep things simple, there are couple of complex components involved in weight loss, and one of these I briefly mentioned earlier and it is your metabolism.
The human body likes stability, so generally fights to stay at its current weight, resisting your attempts to lose fat. One of the ways it does this is regulating your metabolism.
From an evolutionary standpoint, this is a bonus, as during times of famine, having an adaptive metabolism helped us survive. For fat loss though it’s not the best!
As you diet, metabolic hormones, such as leptin and your thyroid function can begin to decrease, essentially meaning your metabolism will slow down, therefore making fat loss more challenging. To stop this from happening you need to eat enough to keep your calories at a healthy level, (by not going stupidly low with calories in the first place).
Your Progress will Plateau
Another issue with low-calorie dieting is progress plateaus.
Hitting the odd obstacle or stumbling block is a part of the dieting process.. it is going to happen, it’s normal, and it doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong it simply means that your body has become used to what you are doing and you need to change something..
However a plateau due to a calorie restricting diet means that: (like we have talked about) your metabolism and thyroid function is shot, your hormones are all completely out of whack and your body is in survival mode and trying to retain as much excess energy (stored fat) as possible due to you partially staving for the last so many weeks..
On the other end of the scale, the person starting their diet on a higher calorie intake, therefore, is clearly going to have an easier, more enjoyable time of dieting than the person who starts too low with their intake.
On The Rebound
How many people do you know have lost weight quickly, then put it straight back on post-diet, often at a faster rate than they lost it, and, many a time, actually ending up becoming heavier than they were when they started the diet?
The reason for this rebound is because the person cut their calories too drastically to begin with.
The first reason is to do with the metabolic adaptation which I talked about earlier, because they’re more susceptible to fat gain after low-calorie dieting.
The second (and more common reason) is because a period of such restriction inevitably leads to binging and over-eating once the diet’s over, as the person simply cannot control their cravings towards high-calorie foods, and so goes to town.
What does all this mean?
I’ll give it too you harsh and hopefully it will sink in..
Very low-calorie diets will make you feel like shit and result in a lack of energy and your body’s functions slowing down. What’s that I hear you say? Harsher?
You’ll lose your sex drive, find it hard to concentrate, and you won’t feel like doing anything. Want more?
How does hair loss, brittle nails, bad skin, and missed cycles sound?
This really isn’t very nice stuff, but it is the cold, hard truth of calorie restriction dieting.
Why You Want to Diet on As Many Calories as Possible
It is simple guys, we are constantly being overwhelmed by the media with notions of low- calorie diets, ridiculous regimes that limit your intake to 1,200, 1,000 or sometimes even 800 calories per day.
Not only are these diets unsustainable and unhealthy, but you’ll end up in worse shape than you were in when you started.
Don’t be afraid of Calories!
The best bit of advice I can give is to eat as many calories as you theoretically need to lose weight.
If that means eating 2,000 calories per day, then do it!
It might mean that you do need to go a little lower, but it’s always best to start high, and reduce only when you need to.
If you restrict your calories, not only will dieting be hell, but it will end up ruining your health, your sanity and your relationships.
Have a great day guys!
The Pit Crew
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