I’m sure I’m not alone in this but in the past, I would make a decision to start some diet or other and it would usually consist of living off lettuce and fresh air or at least that’s how it felt. I’d think to myself that with the next swig of this shake or this piece of fruit, I’d be losing tons of weight. I maybe hungry in fact starving but least I’d be losing loads and I was. In fact I was losing really big numbers, which at the time I’d be over the moon about 7 lbs loss in my first week and then this would continue for a few weeks losing anywhere between 3-6 lbs usually, but after a couple of months the numbers would start to drop and I’d get to the point that I’d lose half a pound or not even lose at all. At this point I’d give up, get very down about it and just totally binge on all the old foods I used to have before, Take aways, crisps, chocolate etc. I’d be out of control and that 3 stone I’d lost so miserably would go back on far quicker than it left me and I’d be back to square one or even further back because I’d not try to lose weight for another year or more maybe and as well as the 3 stone I put back on, I’d have also gained at least another 3 to match.
For example before the crash calorie drop your body was lets say used to consuming 3500 calories per day and say your body was burning 2500 Calories per day, the majority of which are used on running your organs and just keeping you alive, and the rest on doing your usual life things including any exercise you may do. So the extra 1000 calories per day was becoming stored fat on your body and you were continuing to gain weight.
So what happens to your body when you crash your calories!
You then decide to cut out everything you think is bad for you and are following some drastic diet consuming say 1000 Calories a day but your body still needs 2500 to run and at first you have big losses as I said before, but after a few weeks your brains realizes it can’t sustain this kind of energy loss long term because it will run out of stored energy (fat), so it lowers your metabolism so you start burning calories at a lower rate so now your body only needs say 1200 calories to run and this then affects your weight loss, you stop losing weight and you probably don’t feel so great due to the lack of nutrients etc, you even lose muscle because muscle takes a lot of energy to run so your body will break it down and use it.
Our bodies really don’t care that you need to lose 3 stone in 3 months for a holiday you’ve booked or about looking good in a new dress for a wedding in 2 months time, it’s only priority is keeping you alive and it needs calories as energy to do that.
It took me a long time for this to actually click in place for me, that it’s not a race and week by week the weight loss builds up slowly. I know we all want to lose the weight by tomorrow and we put such a high pressure on ourselves for instant results but as the saying goes Rome wasn’t built in a day.
So how do you know if your not eating enough?
You need to know your Total daily energy expenditure (tdee) it is a calculation done based on various things like your age, weight, lifestyle etc there are calculators online they work out what your body needs in energy, so using the example before if your body needs 2500 and changing to a healthy lifestyle, you consume 2000 calories your body is in a 500 calorie deficit meaning you will lose weight, 500 calories a day less results in a 1lb loss per week. This is the healthiest most sustainable way to lose weight that I have found and I have tried every diet just about. It also means you won’t feel lousy, constantly hungry as your body will go into starvation mode as it’s sometimes referred, it’s actual just your brains natural reaction to losing a lot of weight.
When I learnt about this it totally made sense to me, I am not a professional in anyway there is plenty of information in more detail available online, I know how hard this can be and how easy we want to fix it but like anything in life, if it’s worth it, then it won’t be easy as that’s what makes it worth it.
I personally believe now that if you use your Tdee for your calories in a 500 calorie deficit recalculating it every time you get weighed (once a month) and for the most part choose healthy foods with the occasional treats, you will lose the weight you want to, slowly over time but forever.
A healthy lifestyle that’s for life.