My Friends, I feel as if the title of this post is misleading, like I’m getting into something really personal and deep. Truth is this post is about something I talked about quite some time ago and I just happened to find a good video from a lovely Dietician I have mentioned on the bloggy before, Robin.
I remember when I first brought up the idea of a sick metabolism due to over-cardio’in and too few calories. I then went on the explain how your body adapts to that state and if you’re goal is loose weight, it won’t happen.
REAL TALK: You don’t need to starve to be at your body’s happy weight. In fact, we need more calories then we might know.
I also remember saying that you want to try to eat as much as possible without putting on weight (provided you are at a healthy weight).
After all of these points, I received many concerned comments saying…
I cannot eat that much or I gain weight.
When I drop the cardio and/or eat more, I gain weight.
So obviously 1200 calories are where you need to be to have the ‘body you want’ then right?
Instead, you’ll end up frustrated that your body won’t move despite feeling worn down and just plain hangry.
I tried to explain at the time that due to metabolic adaptation to the lower calories and excessive cardio, your body will not let you loose any more weight and even possibly gain weight due to stress. I’m not sure how well received this was at the time because many people are stuck thinking that what they see in the short term is just how it’s doing to be. I can’t say much about this because I fall into that as well.
When I eat more, I have gained weight in the past. I didn’t like it. I have only ever been thin when I’m doing it this way (ie. lots of cardio, low carb, low cals in general). So in order to be happy with my body, I have to do this forever…
It’s hard to try to push past what you have experienced in the past I know, but you have to trust that in the longer run, your body will fall into a happy place, you just have to get over that hump first.
The Nasty Truth.
What hump you ask?
When your body is placed into this state of adaptation, you have to accept the fact that to bring yourself out of it, to get your body back into an efficient, calorie burning machine that works with you rather then against you, you will most likely put on some initial weight. This will occur even if the gradual increase in calories and the gradual reduction in cardio is done almost 100% perfectly (which is so hard to do!).
Although you won’t like it, once again, you need to accept that.
Unfortunately you lost weight the wrong way. You body is slightly scarred at the moment so you have to let it heal in the way it knows how. You now must be patient.
Not to sound like a broken record but this is something that just must be heard (and understood)! You cannot push any further towards your goals if you don’t bring yourself up to a happy calorie intake.
My friends, 1200 is starving according to your body (and quite frankly your mind too!). Remember that. You need hundreds more just to function without any form of basic exercise.
So, with that in mind, does it make sense that your body will happily loose more weight when it already thinks you’re in a famine?
It’s going to do all it possibly can to store as much as possible (because who knows how long this famine will last) and not loose anything else (which is does by messin’ with your hormones + slowing your metabolism to a screeching halt).
This is why many people say that despite feeling as if they are eating so lil that they still can’t loose weight. It’s because your body thinks it needs to be in survival mode.
Please note that this idea of eating lil + no weight loss is a different situation from chronic restriction via eating disorders. That is a different scenario. In that case, bodily wasting happens due to being extremely under your calorie maintenance (like less then 1000cals) for months and your body starts to literally eat itself and waste away. Most of the calorie restriction cases I’m referring to are when individuals have plateaued in their weight loss journey while taking in low calories and doing a lot of basic cardio such as chronic running.
So, long story short, you need to bring up those calories slowly to eat a normal amount for your body so that it will trust you again. This is trial and error. Unfortunately we can not tell you a precise number that your body needs. In this ‘re-feed’ time (oh and it will take time, not 1 weeks time, much more), your metabolism and hormones can be re-set in a sense and finally after giving it a good chunk of time, you will be able to work towards your goals once again.
This time though, it will not be crash dieting or slashing your calories super low again because you have been there and done that. Instead you can do a few things:
Take a step out of your comfort zone and step a toe into the weight section. Building lean muscle ==> higher metabolism ==> higher calorie expenditure just doing nothing at all. You have to lift heavy though. Push your body past being comfortable. You have to be uncomfortable to allow for change.
Take a look at your current diet. Are there lil things you can change? Perhaps you have a wee bit too much sugar due to your twice a day coffees and perhaps that candy jar at work. Maybe you end up buying your food at work every day. One lil change can make quite a difference and doesn’t leave you feeling like you have to cut 400 calories.
Make sure you get your sleep. You know what else causes your body to hold onto excess weight? Cortisol, or your body’s stress hormone. When you are sleep deprived, this hormone increases and can lead to plateaus in weight loss or even weight gain. Many studies have shown that chronic release of this hormone leads to fat gain, especially in the abdominal area. Anywhere from 6-8 hours I would say is needed based on the person.
Finally, don’t tell yourself you can’t have this or cannot have that. Restriction is a recipe for binging and if you find yourself consistently craving processed, sugary, salty, etc types of foods, your dietary lifestyle is, well, not a lifestyle because you are feeling deprived of something. Nobody’s diet is perfect and it doesn’t have to be. Allowing moderation into your life will ensure you can satisfy your body, work towards your goals and not eat an entire box of some craving because you feel as if you will never see it again.
In the video below (click the picture), Robin explains things well and hopefully it helps you all to better understand everything I was chattering about.
Treat your body right. Sometimes if you hit a snag, you have to take a step back before getting to where you need to be.
This is a pill I have to swallow as well as I continue on my journey with my coach. I need to trust the process. I made a mistake and now I need to face the initial challenge to get into a better place. Both mind and body.
I hope this post wasn’t too repetitive. You know me and my rambles..
Have a great Saturday my friends and for those living here in Canada, stay warm on the coldest day we have had thus far I believe
Hello -23 -_-