Are You Starving Yourself Into Being Fat?
Weight loss works differently for everyone. It happens at different rates, in different ways, and under different circumstances. There are a few things that get in the way of weight loss for most people. The first is believing what you read in magazines and on the internet. The second is thinking that starving yourself will be the key to weight loss. Believe it or not, even something like intermittent fasting, wasn’t designed to help with weight loss. It was designed to help fight chronic disease, like cancer, and lower blood glucose levels. Most studies show that intermittent fasting has a stronger link to longevity and health than it does long-term weight loss.
The one weight loss tool that doesn’t work and can usually backfire and cause us to gain weight is restricting calories. This comes in the form of limited calorie diets, fasts, and detoxes that restrict calorie intake. Restricting calories by skipping meals, fasting for long periods, or simply not eating enough sends your body signals that you are going into starvation mode and your body responds by slowing down metabolism. If levels of fat drop too quickly, then the brain makes the assumption that it needs to slow metabolism down to hold onto as much body fat as it can to survive. In fact, even if fat isn’t lost and we just don’t have enough calories coming in, the brain will force us to slow down and we may experience more food cravings. This makes it tough to lose weight because we don’t want to move and we are hungry all the time.
Now, if weight loss is slow and sustainable and not through heavy calorie restriction there actually are good, healthy, and sustainable options that are simple and effective. Eat whole foods, don’t overeat, limit sugar and processed foods, and get more sleep and exercise. The body then responds by increasing metabolism and continuing to drop body fat. This might not get you to lose ten pounds in a week or fifty pounds in two months but they will get you there over time and should keep the weight off.
I can say that I have witnessed first hand the most simple solution to weight loss work in some people who were restricting calories and getting nowhere. Eat more! That’s right. Increase calorie intake and some magical things happen. Your workouts start to become more potent and you have more energy. This leads to more calories burned and leaner muscle mass, which leads to more hormones (estrogen and testosterone), which leads to weight loss.
How much should you be eating? Well, again, that is different for all of us, but what I can leave you with are these simple rules to follow:
Eat until you are satisfied, not full. You should be able to walk away feeling satisfied and, 1 hour later, you shouldn’t be hungry, rather, you should feel full.
Women, at each meal you should have 1 palm size of protein, 1 open fist full of green veggies, 1 closed fist of a starchy vegetable, and 1 thumb of healthy fat. Men, at each meal you should have 2 palms of protein, 2 open fists full of green veggies, and 2 closed fists of a starchy vegetable and 2 thumbs of healthy fat.
You should want to eat every 3-4 hours throughout the day.
If you think that you are restricting calories and it might be affecting weight loss, the simplest next step to take is to try having more to eat and pay attention to how you feel. Are your workouts better? Do you sleep better? Are you starting to actually lose weight? Do you feel like you have more energy throughout the day? Do you notice an increase in sex drive? It might take a couple of weeks, but it might be worth it to try having more calories.