Apr 04 2014

Why Eating Too Little Is Making You Fat

Are you a member of MyFitnessPal or any other food diary app? With 30 million members worldwide, and dozens more similar apps to chose from, the craze of losing weight through managing our food intake is bigger than ever. With these apps on our phones being so accessible, there has…

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Are you a member of MyFitnessPal or any other food diary app? With 30 million members worldwide, and dozens more similar apps to chose from, the craze of losing weight through managing our food intake is bigger than ever. With these apps on our phones being so accessible, there has never been an easier way to keep track of your weight loss and share the journey with your friends!

What concerns me is the arbitrary calorie targets that are set, and the worrying trend for people to consume significantly under their required calorie intake. What’s even more concerning is that people are seeing this as an achievement; a day is only successful if they have fallen 300 calories short of their target! I’ve seen online food diaries of guys over 6 foot tall, surviving off less than 1200 calories a day. This isn’t just unsustainable, its simply dangerous!

If weight-loss was simply eating as little as possible, then all diets and slimming attempts would be successful.  Today find out why eating too little could be making you fat

Remind yourself of your goals

Are you looking to lose weight? Do you want to build muscle? You can’t tone and put on muscle eating like a teenage girl on a diet of around 1000 calories a day. Don’t be ridiculous! If you are in the gym training, can you honestly expect your body to build muscle when it is barely getting enough fuel to sustain it’s essential functions?!

Your body’s primary function is to keep you alive, then divert resources for other functions.  As a result if you are consuming the bare minimum of food, your body will divert those calories to brain function, respiration, your circulatory system etc.  It goes into the famed ‘starvation mode,’ where it reacts as though you are stranded on an island somewhere and can’t get enough food. This prompts your body to resist the breakdown of stored fat and hold onto it for when your consuming less calories than you need to stay alive!

You need fat in your diet to lose fat

healthy-fats

Sound wrong? Most of us have spent our whole live’s being told that low fat is the way to go. The media and food industry have given fat such a bad name, people are terrified to eat it, thinking they will put on weight. Ironically, people then turn to carbohydrates to replace the fat, which actually makes weight problems worse, not better!

There are actually a number of different fats – some are vital for life (omega 3 and 9), some are not (trans fats). If you are overweight, even if you are eating the correct balance of protein and carbohydrates, if you are not eating enough essential fats, you will not lose weight.  Hormone management is vitally important when changing your nobody composition. Hormones are created from fat and if these aren’t working correctly then your health and weight-loss goals will stall.  This can be seen dramatically when under-eating women stop menstruating.

At some point you will burn out

At first you may lose fat on a very low calorie diet, but very quickly you will burn out especially when you add exercise to the equation. After eating too little for too long and training, your results will come to a screeching halt. Your energy levels will plummet, your gym performance will wane and your enthusiasm for training will be extinguished. It’s a downward spiral known as overtraining. You can experience other problems from the stress and damage of long term dieting such as gall stones, metabolic conditions and hair loss.

Food is to be enjoyed; where’s the fun in feeling exhausted, in not being able to perform at your best or do any of the things you enjoy any more? More to the point, why bother if the results are no longer coming? When you are no longer making progress, something needs to change, and this doesn’t always equate to eating less.

Simply put, you don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight and shed those stubborn pounds. You just need learn how to choose the right foods and hit your macronutrient goals.  Get eating!

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Salman