Why Can’t I Diet? – 2/7
Eating too little!
I know, sounds ridiculous but it’s true. Obviously you have eaten too much at some point in your life or you would not be overweight now however when planning your diet the biggest mistake people make is not eating enough.
There’s a golden rule that I abide by and it is this
“Eat as much food as you can to still lose weight”
The reason for this is 2 fold.
Reason Number 1
The human body is an organism like any other on this planet. It has two primary functions in life; reproduction and existence (in order to do more reproduction). This means it is simply trying to survive and exist for as long as it possibly can and to do that it has to manage it’s energy needs very carefully. Therefore when you reduce the amount of food you feed it (it’s energy source) it has to compensate in some way in order to ensure it continues to exist and not die, so it slows down (down regulates) other non essential functions in the body such as cell regeneration (hair growth etc), the immune system (disease and illness fighting), liver function and so on. The very last thing on it’s mind is losing fat (it’s energy reserves).
We are however concerned with this last point because if you feed the body too little it will not operate optimally. Your hormonal system and subsequently your fat burning ability is compromised and whilst you initially get a quick and impressive result this slows and almost stalls very quickly, and of course everyones natural reaction when that happens is to reduce the calories even further making the problem even worse. By far the biggest problem with this is the fact that your hormonal system is compromised (more on this in Part 4 of this series). You need your hormonal system to work properly or fat loss will never occur so you have to ‘feed’ the body so that it can run this system properly.
obviously there are exceptions to this and when calories are reduced to extreme levels, around the 500 calories per day mark, the body has no choice but to burn fat and muscle in order to survive (think starvation, third world countries and concentration camps). I am writing this post assuming that is not how you wish to end up looking so this does not apply to you.
Reason Number 2
Sustainability and adherence. If you don’t eat enough food then eventually you will fail and fall off the diet. In an effort to keep you alive and operating optimally your body will flood your system with hunger hormones which will eventually force you to give in and binge. Rumbling stomach, headaches, weakness, dizziness etc etc. These are all your body’s way of saying get some food in you now! And you will. You can’t fight this, no one is strong enough to do so.
What is the point of following a diet on super low calories that delivers a result for only a couple of weeks and then you fail and put your weight loss back on while you are looking for the next diet to do?
SO WHAT DO YOU DO?
Eat ‘just’ enough to lose weight. That’s it. In part 1 of this series I discussed managing your expectations. Well if you do that then you won’t eat too little.
A little ‘discomfort’ or ‘awareness’ of hunger in your stomach is to be expected sometimes when you are dieting, but actual proper hunger is not. If you ever get the ‘urge’ to pig out and binge then your diet WILL fail. It means you are eating too little.
Eat more food, within the guidelines I have given you above, and steadily create a deficit every day, which will steadily deliver a weight loss, women don’t ever go below 1200, men 1600, and you will be ok.
finally though please realise this: we are looking for sustainable and permanent weight loss. If you want a diet that will drop 5 stone in 5 months then yes follow a Juice/Cambridge/Lighter Life kind of diet as it will deliver what you want initially but you will damage your body in the process and it will take months if not years to undo the damage and you will regain most if not all of the weight. Is it really worth it?
SLOW DOWN, have a read of Part 1 of this series again, and chill out. Weight loss is SIMPLE, not easy, but certainly simple. Just eat a bit less than you need each day and your body will steadily and painlessly drop the fat pounds for you with very little discomfort. It may take longer that you would like, but with patience you will eventually hit your goal and let’s be honest your previous ‘faster’ diets have not as you are still trying to diet now!