I hope this piece finds you in the pink of health. So let’s talk about the number one factor associated with weight management- no it isn’t calorie management, or following a particular diet plan. Or for that matter, exercising 7 days a week. The most critical aspect of weight management ladies and gents, is a healthy and fast metabolism- this isn’t as straightforward as it seems-let me break this down- when we approach a weight loss plan, we start by reducing calories and get on some sort of exercise program. This is done around the principle of energy balance- calories in vs calories out leading to a deficit which in turn helps you to drop weight. Now, if you are coming from a sedentary lifestyle and have not been eating responsibly in recent times- you will see fantastic results in the first 4-6 weeks and it will work like a charm. This will motivate you and you then continue to reduce your calories further, believing it is the right approach. This is more than likely coupled with an enthusiastic training program which is absolutely counterproductive. This leads to a plateau and you will stop progressing. Most of us can’t figure out what’s happening and we throw in the towel. So, calorie reduction can only be done to a certain extent and the reason for that is our body goes through a process where it adapts and reaches homeostasis- that is how the human brain is wired. It will resist every potential physical and mental change in your physiological environment. This means when you don’t give your body food and expend energy by extensive physical training, and then take it to a level where you keep reducing the calories and get to starvation, say around 1200 calories or less, the conversation your body has with your brain is, now that he or she is not going to feed me, I will need to survive. So, earlier I did burn fat as a result of reduced calories and exercise on a new plan or change in lifestyle. I was figuring out what he or she was doing, and now I know this is the plan where he/she will continue to not feed me enough, so I must hold on to body fat to be able to survive and carry on bodily functions. So, in order to do that, it slows down metabolism by retaining body fat instead of burning it which makes it hard for you to assess why such a result. You on the other hand are doing everything by the book- reducing calories and eating clean with exercise but not burning weight and can’t figure out why- this is a result of a slow and damaged metabolism.
You are exercising and not eating enough leading to a catabolic state where no new muscle tissue is being built(’cause you are not feeding your body enough food) or maybe you are losing muscle tissue as a result and as explained earlier ( in my previous articles and videos) less muscle equal to slow metabolism(lean muscle tissue is metabolically more active- which means the more muscle you carry, the more fat you will burn at rest- for instance when you are reading or watching Netflix or doing whatever rocks your boat. So, how do we fix this- simple answer- you have to learn how to reverse diet or do refeeds to boost that metabolism. This is more strategic and not as simple as eating twice the amount of food you want to eat. You want to do this periodically like every 3 to 4 weeks and exercise at the same time to ensure all that food is going into feeding your muscle and not storage. Bumping your calories up by a good 15% to 20% of your maintenance and then planning a weight loss on the principle of reduction works better ’cause you are already at a healthy food intake level. Yes you will experience some weight gain and if you’re on the right plan( meaning a good exercise program with it) majority of it will be muscle. This is a byproduct.Also, eating the right kind of food is key here- protein especially. I have experienced this firsthand and it can get very uncomfortable, especially if you’re someone who is on the other side of 40. There is a hormonal disadvantage and you tend to lose progress every now and then. There are very few coaches who will advise you to take your calories up alongside an effective strength training program once you hit a plateau. Most of them will keep reducing your food and once your body stops burning fat, which is inevitable, they will change your program. Example, if you are doing low carb, they will suggest keto or paleo or whatever they feel is right. The right approach is to assess your metabolism and correct that for good. If you are going through this ladies and gents, take my advice and get in some food on your plate.
Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter!
We lift, therefore we are!