Calories in/out phenomena!
As a personal trainer in Mississauga, I have seen many people find themselves in the most perplexing situations when trying to lose weight. You are counting your calories to make sure you are eating as little as possible so that you are in a caloric deficit. In the beginning you start to lose weight but then after a few weeks despite all your efforts to eat as little as possible, you are just not losing weight! Why is that the case?
People will argue with you that you aren’t counting your calories right or that you are probably cheating here and there which makes up for caloric deficit that you put yourself through. But you know deep down that you didn’t do anything wrong… or did you? How is possible to eat so little and not lose any weight?
The Answer: Your Metabolism Isn’t Static
Here is a hypothetical example. You probably assumed that if you require 2,000 calories per day, and that you ate 1000 calories per day, it will equate to 2lbs lost per week using the following equation:
1,000 calories daily deficit * 7 days = 7,000 calories / 3,500 calories per pound = 2lbs
Although that looks good on paper, it’s not how our body works. The human body has evolved to adapt to changes in dietary intake and so your metabolism drops to adapt to functioning on lower calories. This is considered an important survival mechanism. This means that the calorie cut of 1000/day also causes your metabolic rate to drop which eventually narrows the deficit that you are in, and eventually over time the caloric deficit is eliminated.
What is the solution?
Start focusing on your habits rather than focusing too much on viewing calories as your enemy. Your daily habits are the biggest predictors of how your body composition will change over time.
As a personal trainer in Mississauga, I ask these questions before starting someone on a particular diet:
- Are you getting 150-200 min of moderate-vigorous (65%-85% of HRmax) intensity exercise per week? This is to drive your metabolic rate up?
- Do you push yourself hard enough in your workouts to see a progressive increase in your fitness ability?
- Are your choice of food helping you to become more insulin sensitive over time?
- Are you meal prepping your meals ahead of time or are you always relying on eating out?
- What are you eating when you get stressed out?
- Are you binge eating or eating?
- Are you eating to capacity or are you eating until you are 80% full?
- Do you inhale your food or do you chew it about 36-40 times before swallowing?
- Are you making sure that each meal is 50% veggies, 20% protein, 20% healthy fats, 10% carbs?
The list can go on and on. It is ALWAYS the habits that are causing the average person to either gain weight or not be able lose the weight that they want. Once actions are controlled, repetition helps in setting these new healthy behaviors so that they can become habits.
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