Why You Can’t Keep the Weight Off

You’ve heard it.

You’ve probably done it.
I’ve heard it.
Hell. I’ve done it.
When you want to lose weight, lose fat, or change your appearance what is the first thing the internet, your best friend, or your fitness app tell you to do?
Eat less exercise more.
The logic behind this is not wrong. To lose weight we have to be in a caloric deficit.
“caloric deficit” or to burn more calories than one consumes
So it make sense if I want to get in a caloric deficit, I will eat less and exercise more! Then I won’t have as many calories from food and I also will be burning more calories from exercise!
For example:
Let the purple box be your body’s caloric needs- how many calories it needs to perform its bodily functions (metabolism) and perform in day to day life and exercise.
Let the green balls be your food intake how many calories you are eating a day.
(ALL these numbers are examples- not suggestions, not what I eat, just examples)

Here is what happens when you eat less – exercise more. For example, lets say you go from being at caloric maintenance and no exercise ( box #1) to a caloric deficit and burning 500 extra calories during a new exercise program.

 WAHH your body is now the crying face emoji. It went right from where it wanted to be, at maintenance to a severe caloric deficit. Will this cause dramatic weight loss, sure, probably!
It will also cause
-fatigue
-confusion
-increased appetite
-decreased motivation
-sleeping problems
-excessive bitchy-ness
Do any of those things seem supportive of maintaining that deficit for long? There are so many things working directly against you here!
FURTHERMORE: Your body is smarter than you.
It WANTS to be at maintenance (homeostasis/balance). So guess what your beautiful bitch of a body does to PROTECT YOU… it lowers it’s caloric needs (AKA SLOWS ITS METABOLISM) to meet your caloric intake and exercise. 😐
So after a couple weeks/months of weight loss.. here you are at box number three. Still burning 500 calories by working out just as much, and only eating 1800 calories. But your body slowed its processes down to only require 1300 calories… leaving you back at maintenance.

*Unimpressed face*
So what do you do? Usually- exercise more and eat even less… which over time the same exact thing will happen a few weeks/ months later.

Eventually, you are going to get to a point where you cannot maintain that much exercise and that low of caloric deficit OR you will reach your goals. Either way, you’ll want to go back to eating like a “normal human”.
So… from box three, you go back to eating more calories… but your metabolism has slowed down…and weight gain begins.

 And the cycle continues again.
Now, is this the biological case for everyone. No! Some people are lucky and there body never adapts. However, for the most of us, unfortunately (or fortunately- your body is trying to save your DG life) this is the case.
Now does it have to stay this way?
NO!
There are approaches to weight loss/ fat loss that can side step the “exercise more/eat less” death trap. As a coach and trainer, I avoid this conundrum at all cost.
Next week- I will share a few things you can do when trying to lose weight/fat on your own to avoid these things.
Because life is too short for this shiz.
Resources
Heilbronn, L. K., Jonge, L. D., Frisard, M. I., Delany, J. P., Larson-Meyer, D. E., Rood, J., . . .
     Team, F. T. (2006). Effect of 6-month calorie restriction on biomarkers of longevity,
     metabolic adaptation, and oxidative stress in overweight individuals. Jama,295(13),
     1539-1548. doi:10.1001/jama.295.13.1539
Redman, L. M., Heilbronn, L. K., Martin, C. K., Jonge, L. D., Williamson, D. A., Delany, J. P., &
     Ravussin, E. (2009). Metabolic and behavioral compensations in response to caloric
     restriction: Implications for the maintenance of weight loss. PLoS ONE,4(2).
     doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004377

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