Are you still struggling with weight loss? You cut calories and still see no results? Let me tell you that the problem might be that you are eating less than you should, to lose weight.
Yes, as much as it sounds counter-intuitive, eating more can help you lose weight and boost your metabolism.
It’s Monday morning. You wake up ready for the challenge you’re about to face. It’s the beginning of the week, you had enough with all the excess weight you have accumulated over the last months, and you set your mind that you finally want to start a diet.
“Let’s do this,” you think as you enter fight-mode.
As you struggle to fit into your clothes and prepare your morning coffee, you notice the pizza box from last night in the recycle bin.
A memory of the last party, now you have to transform into a different human (in reality, super-human) being with the will-power to live only on few calories for the following weeks.
It’s a recipe for failure.
Before you know it, you will give in to your cravings, and you’ll wait for the following Monday to start all over again.
Such an approach can lead you to nowhere. I’m sure you have been there before, and I have also been. It’s the way all the experts told us that worked—calories in and calories out.
The established equation
Diet equals small portions of food that equals weight loss.
The real-life equation
Diet equals to small portions of food that equals to failure that equals to depression.
Learn to eat, food isn’t the enemy
Restricting yourself and eating few calories might produce some results in the beginning. However, this won’t serve you in the long run.
Having a lean piece of chicken in the center of your plate with steamed vegetables sparkled here and there can be quite depressing. How long do you think you’ll last?
Food doesn’t have to be so “sterile.” You can eat more than you think and still lose weight. It’s the quality of food that matters. Your body needs nutrients.
Eating less will trigger cravings
When you eat small portions of food, you will sooner or later have such cravings that you’ll probably give in. It’s not your fault.
Everyone faces this challenge; you’re not superman and cannot have steel will power to ignore them.
When you’re used to eating junk food, you have developed a habit, you don’t think about it, you just grab your favorite snack and eat it.
Trying to change this kind of behavior takes time and effort. Additionally, when you restrict calories too much, your body gets out of balance because it lacks nutrients.
Your body gets stressed and activates hunger to make you eat more. Unfortunately, your organism cannot understand that you want to get thin to look good.
It thinks that you are starving and that you are in danger. Like your ex, your body just doesn’t get it. You talk about one thing, and it understands something else.
Move your body as much as you can
When it comes to weight loss, you think you have to do two things, go on a diet and hit the gym as often as possible.
But what do you do for the rest of the day? If you work at an office, you sit on your chair for about 8 hours.
Then you get into your car drive to the gym, and then you go home, eat, lay on the couch, and watch tv.
Most of the day, you don’t move. Working out for an hour can’t help you boost your metabolism.
In the past, people moved much more during the day and ate healthy foods, contrary to today that we found ways to move less and eat highly processed foods.
The secret to losing weight is to move your body throughout the day as much as you can. That’s why lean people stay lean.
NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is the energy expended for everything we do: not sleeping, eating, or sports-like exercise.
Walking your dog, cleaning the house, playing with your kids, and walking to the places you want to go instead of taking the car are examples of how you can increase NEAT.
Is your closet a mess? Put on your favorite music and clean it out. You will hit two birds with one stone.
Calories are the supporting actors
Most people believe that what makes a difference in weight loss is the number of calories we eat.
If you have been dieting for quite some time in your life, you probably have learned the number of calories in every single food.
However, calories vary even in the same type of product. For example, all apples aren’t the same.
An apple can be more or less sweet, making it more calorie-dense than the one you ate the previous day.
You might weigh your chicken, but do you know that what it has eaten can influence its calories?
So all the math equations you solved day after day aren’t so accurate.
Our bodies aren’t machines; metabolism is much more complicated.
By cutting down the calories we consume, our metabolisms slow down, and then our body breaks down muscle tissue to get energy.
Many people tried to go on a diet and after a few weeks, can’t lose a single pound, even though the calories they consume are quite low.
When you hit a plateau, to lose weight, you have to cut much more calories and sometimes even if you do. You see no results.
Does your cat eat more than you?
With less muscle, fewer calories can burn, and that leads to failure. Then since you get nowhere with the diet, you fall back on your previous eating patterns.
However, with a slower metabolism, you’ll gain weight in a blink of an eye.
Do you want to do that to yourself?
Your body might have a different view
Your body has a mind of its own. While you’re trying to lose weight as fast as possible, your body thinks that you’re in danger.
Like a thermostat, our body regulates our temperature by sweating or shivering. It is trying to maintain a stable state.
Unfortunately, it has a similar mechanism when it comes to your weight. Genetics, environment, eating habits are some factors that determine your metabolic set point.
Your body thinks that a certain weight is your ideal, even if you disagree with it. It doesn’t care.
If you maintained a certain weight for a long time, that is your set point. You might lose or gain a few pounds, but if you go back to your “regular” eating habits, you’ll probably go back to your normal weight.
“Hello!!! I want to lose weight…”, you scream from the top of your lungs. Your body answers: “I’m here to save you. I won’t let you starve. Let me slow down your metabolism and regulate your hormones.”
No matter how hard you try, your body won’t listen.
You can drastically cut down calories, increase the hours at the gym, and get nowhere. Does this mean that you’ll stay trapped in this situation?
Not at all. There is a way out.
You have to go slowly to lose weight, no more than 10% of your body weight. By gradually losing weight, you can trick your set point.
Think of it like this.
Remember when you stayed out late at night, and you didn’t want to wake up your parents while you were trying to get into the house?
You walk on tiptoes as you slowly went towards your room. Right?
Hormones are the leading actors
When your hormones are out of balance, it can get quite challenging to lose weight no matter what you do.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, when elevated can cause weight gain.
Seriously, how you feel and how you deal with the challenges you face every day can help you or prevent you from losing fat.
Another hormone that can block your weight loss is insulin. Insulin helps to decrease blood sugar levels by assisting glucose to travel from the bloodstream to the cells and get used for energy.
However, when we eat excess sugar and carbohydrates, our body cannot use it for energy, storing it as body fat.
When we eat foods that trigger insulin, especially sugar and highly processed foods, you might develop insulin resistance.
When this is the case, your insulin levels stay elevated because the cells won’t respond to insulin.
Then the body continues to produce more and more, leading to constant hunger as the food cannot convert to energy. Your body signals hunger because it thinks that it’s constantly starving.
Many hormones play an essential role and really can work against you if you don’t have them under control.
The main principle to lose weight is to eat healthy and nutritious food, and consume enough calories for your body to function at its best.
Lift weight to build muscle
Before you skip this part because you think you will end up looking bulky, stop. Women can only benefit from lifting heavy barbells, kettlebells, and dumbbells, and achieve a leaner and toned body.
Who doesn’t want that?
Increasing muscle mass can turn you into a fat-burning machine, and make weight loss much more comfortable.
If you rely only on cardio because you believe it is the only way to achieve your ideal weight, you are wrong.
Too much cardio might work against you because it can lead to muscle loss. When you lose muscle mass, your metabolism goes down the drain.
When your cardio session ends, that is when you stop burning calories. On the other hand, the boost your metabolism gets from strength training can last up to 72 hours after your session. Wow?
However, if you don’t eat enough calories and get the necessary nutrients, you won’t have the energy to work out and build more muscle. That is why it is crucial to eat well.
Eat protein to get lean
Protein can help you increase your metabolism just by consuming it.
The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the energy that the body produces while the food is digesting and absorbing.
Protein has a high TEF, and our body burns more calories while it is processing it.
Additionally, protein makes you feel fuller longer so that you won’t feel hungry, and this can make a difference when you’re trying to lose weight.
It increases the hormones that make you feel full and suppresses the hormones that make you feel hungry.
When you eat protein, you help the development of your muscles. Remember, more muscle means a higher metabolism.
Don’t restrict yourself too much, because it will lead you to failure.
No-one wants to feel hungry and miserable all the time. Losing weight isn’t only about the way you look but about your health also.
Your life shouldn’t revolve around food. If you want lasting results take it slowly and listen to your body.