Most diets recommend calorie or carb restriction
In fact, prevailing wisdom is “eat-less to lose weight”.
I’m going to turn this on its head and tell you that in many cases, you may have to EAT more to lose more weight. Huh? What? Yes, stick with me and I’ll explain.
Both Kate and I have used these principles to shatter old weight-loss plateaus and reach our lightest weight in over 10 years!
When we eat too-few of calories, our bodies enter starvation mode, the thyroid hormones needed to fuel your metabolism can’t be produced and our metabolism starts slowing down. Our bodies start clinging to fat stores as a source of energy and we become sluggish.
I started P90X at around 1900 calories a day and kept increasing them throughout the 90 day program to avoid plateauing. I ended up around 2500 a day and was still losing weight. I burned 800-1000 calories in each workout, which helped create a calorie deficit.
Why do so many diets recommend low calories?
Most diets are based on the calorie deficit concept but they take it to the extreme.
When starting a new diet, we are often rewarded with some quick weight loss (which reinforces our idea that this diet is working) but then our metabolism slows and we reach a plateau and our body stops dropping weight. We become discouraged and eventually stop following the diet or become complacent with little to no results.
You’ve probably noticed this at the start of Adkins or Southbeach diets. These diets cause a lot of stress on our bodies and can be difficult to maintain long-term, which is why most people gain the weight back they initially lost.
Why does our Metabolism slow down when we don’t eat enough?
It has to do with your thyroid hormones. The thyroid hormones control the rate at which your body burns calories, digestion, body temperature and many others. Your pituitary gland creates TSH to kick-start your thyroid. Your thyroid then takes iodine from your blood and starts producing T4. The metabolic magic occurs when T4 is converted into T3. Stress, medication and environmental toxins can mess up this process. But guess what else can mess up this process? Poor Diet! When you’re not taking in enough calories, your body stops producing enough TSH, and then the thyroid can’t produce enough T4. Less T4 means less T3, resulting in slower metabolism, or hypothyroidism!
How to lose weight
It is true that running a negative calorie balance is necessary to lose weight. To do it most efficiently and in a healthy way, proper nutrition and intense exercise is necessary. The key is to eat enough to keep your body out of starvation mode + enough to fuel your workouts. When your body receives enough nutrition to fuel all the normal daily metabolic processes and to support the production of TSH and T4, it will more freely give up fat to burn as energy during your workouts.
However, if you’re not eating enough to sustain your normal metabolic processes then you may run out of energy during your workouts and become sluggish, thus not maximizing your efforts to burn
You may be wondering how much YOU should be eating. A healthy target is a calorie deficit of about 500 – 1000 calories a day to lose 1-2 lbs a week. The challenge is achieving this much of a deficit while still eating enough to fuel your normal daily needs and supporting your body’s ability to produce TSH & T4. This is why intense exercise is needed – to create the deficit!
Beachbody’s fitness programs (p90x, TurboFire, etc.) have nutrition programs that explain and emphasize eating enough calories to fuel our bodies for the workouts.
These workouts are INTENSE and your body needs good, clean fuel to burn while you’re working out.
Kate was stuck at a weight-loss plateau for 18 months, eating around 1000-1200 calories a day. She started TurboFire, which recommended 1600/day for her. Kate increased her calories and within 4 weeks, she shattered her old plateau and now is at her lowest weight in 10 years!
How much should I eat?
It depends on where you’re starting from and what your goals are.
Are you trying to:
- lose weight
- build muscle
- tone up
- build a six pack
- or all of the above
Let us know what your goals are and we can help recommend a fitness program and nutrition plan for you.
Send us an email and Tell us about yourself!
These programs are NOT DIETS, they are about a LIFESTYLE that you can maintain for years to come. It’s a complete health and fitness plan that really works.