Have you been on a low calorie diet for some time without seeing any weight loss, or worse weight gain has now been slowly creeping on?
DO a google search for low calorie diets and you’ll see many magic meal plan for 1200 calories or less, but what do you do when a low calorie diet no longer delivers results?
Increasing your food intake may actually help you lose weight…
Many dieters are playing limbo when nit comes to losing weight. “How low can you go?”
They eat less and less until eating less becomes a problem rather than a solution.
In this article I’m going to share with your how those low-cal diets are holding you back, and how you can fix it.
What is metabolic damage?
The phrase “metabolic damage” floats around as a way to describe a slow metabolism that no longer burns fat efficiently, despite a low caloric intake or excess exercise.
Weight loss seems impossible, and the general rule of calories in versus calories out no longer applies.
However this damage is fixable, which is why I prefer the term “metabolic adaptation.”
Your metabolism is adaptable, changeable, and flexible, and in the same way it slows down during dieting, it can also speed up when properly cared for.
This is the good news you’ve been waiting for. You’re not “broken”
That’s right, you aren’t stuck with your slow metabolism forever!
What causes metabolic damage
Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is the amount of energy needed to sustain vital bodily functions at rest and accounts for 70% of our metabolism.
The amount of food we provide our body determines how fast or slow our metabolism operates.
When we begin to diet or have a low calorie intake, our RMR slows its functions to match this decrease in energy. In other words, metabolism begins to slow down as food intake decreases. < write that down.
The same way that you don’t want to run sprints on low energy, your metabolism doesn’t want to drive your engine all day with no fuel in the tank.
After a prolonged period of too much work and not enough food, metabolism reaches a point where fat loss becomes nearly impossible.
Vital functions can only work so slowly, and eventually any calories you consume will be stored for function, rather than burned for fat loss.
Fixing metabolic damage
Once your metabolism slows down to the point where it no longer burns fat, how do you repair it?
You can’t cut any more calories or do any more cardio, so the only place to go is up. Yes, increasing food may actually help you lose weight.
Eating food requires energy and raises metabolism, also known as the thermic effect of food. After all, processing and digesting nutrients accounts for 10% of our metabolism.
Digesting proteins requires the most energy, which means that as you eat more protein, and more calories in general, your metabolism will begin working faster.
3 Steps to fix a damaged metabolism
Not everyone is built to eat 3000 calories a day and lose weight, but if you’ve been following a 1200-calorie plan for months with no results, you may be ready to take steps towards metabolic repair. Here’s how:
1. Eat more food
Add calories to your intake, at a slow and controlled rate. It’s not necessary to double your intake in a day in order to wake up your metabolism.
Being conscious of your food intake and adding in an extra snack each day or an additional protein source is a good place to start.
If you’re interested in tracking your food try our Online Nutrition Club. (Ask me in the comment How to join)
2. Don’t overdo it
Over working your metabolism by exercising for two or three hours every day can put it into overdrive and eventually shut down mode.
If you’re slaving away on the Stairmaster several times a day or skipping every rest day, take it easy. You and your body need time for rest and recovery.
3. Keep your body guessing
As humans, our bodies seek regularity and will work to maintain homeostasis. After following one plan for too long, your body grows accustomed and needs a change to see results.
You can’t lift the same weight for 5 months and continue to build muscle. Similarly, you can’t eat the same amount for months and months and expect it to cause weight loss or weight gain, you will eventually just maintain.
Continue to change your routine in the gym and the kitchen to keep your body up to speed.
Metabolic adaptation may be an unfortunate side effect of under eating and long term dieting, but the good news is that it is not permanent!
When we diet, we lower calories, increase our activity level, lose body mass, and inevitably cause our metabolism to slow down.
To take your metabolism from tortoise to race horse, make sure you are eating enough.
Exercise regularly, but not to the point where you are under-fueled and overworked.
All hope is not lost when you hit a fat loss plateau after months of dieting, it is simply your body’s way of telling you to step off the gas and fill the tank.
Walsall’s leading personal trainer Coach Wilson started the bootcamp trend in Walsall and has since gone on to appear on TV such as the BBC were he hosted the Inside Out show on Obesity, Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies and Sky News. Paul has been voted the UKs most loved personal trainer and the UKs health & fitness business of the year for the last 4 years running.