Surely you already know that portion control, calorie management, and or reducing calories are all important if you are looking to lose weight. Right? You may also (hopefully) be adding a few of these also to move you in the right direction, like including more exercise or changing what you eat.
And this will work, but after a period of time, it may stop working. – The Dreaded Plateau!
So you may cut calories in order to get the scale moving in the right direction again. But is this the right approach? Sadly, it may not be. Yes, taking in fewer calories will help you lose weight in theory, but cutting them too low may actually have the opposite effect. You see, your body is very good at monitoring how many calories you’re eating and burning.
Eat too many calories, and it stores the excess as fat (basic equation for weight gain) – Keep in mind that your body doesn’t distinguish healthy calories vs unhealthy calories when it comes to using and storing energy (yes it does for health and wellness).
Eat too little and your body rebels – It may send signals to your brain to stimulate your appetite and encourage you to eat and many people when they get too hungry tend to overdo it or as noted above you don’t eat much and you store everything for emergency energy use when your body needs it.
If you’re able to prevent your hunger and cravings from derailing your weight loss you are setting up or success. If you go too low with the calories your body may slow things down—especially your metabolism –making it harder to burn stubborn fat and lose weight.
And, this is important: when your calories are too low, your body tends to conserve fat and burn muscle for energy—leading to a slower metabolism and higher body fat levels. It doesn’t burn more fat! If you are fitness training, you just worked hard to build quality muscle and increase your metabolism. Ugh!!
Are you seeing the importance of the calorie balance now? This is why it’s so important to maintain the right amount of calories to continue to fuel your weight loss. Anything less than 1200-1500 calories may not be enough to fuel your activity, and the different metabolic processes going on inside your body.
If you’re looking to lose weight and you think cutting your calories even lower than they already are will work, there’s a good chance you’re going to be frustrated with your results. Instead of tracking the number of calories you eat, always include a lean protein, bright fruit or veggies, an easily digestible carb, and some healthy fats with each meal. This will help you maintain a healthy calorie level—therefore encouraging more fat loss—and keeping cravings and hunger feelings away.