Hey y’all ! I’ve been having a lot of talks with people about dieting troubles, metabolism damage , and calories..This topic is one that I love and want to share with others. I’ve “been into fitness” for over 10 years now and I have had lots of trials and errors . I have met lots of people along the way that have helped expand my knowledge regarding heath, fitness, and nutrition. I have been thin, a little overweight, huge pregnant, skinny fat, and shredded.. All of these things have come with their own pearls of knowledge. Some at a very high cost. LOL. One thing that I feel was the worst, was trying sooooo hard with little results to show for it. I know some people say “calories in VS calories out ” is the end-all ….and in MOST cases, this is true. If you burn more calories than you take in , you will lose weight. UNLESS, you have been doing this for a long long time. If you have never figured out what a maintenance level of calories are at a healthy / desirable weight for your self, then , chances are , you have not been eating adequately (most likely under and over at times). I , as well as many friends, have experienced this frustration , so I want to share that with you.
Ok, so on to the question of : Is your metabolism damaged. Well, yes and no is the answer. No your metabolism is not permanently damaged. BUT , you can experience metabolic ADAPTATIONS to a caloric deficit and not lose “weight”. Most people that are concerned with this are usually active dieters who are in a plateau or who have tried lots of diets and “nothing works”.
When you eat less calories than you burn , you are in a caloric deficit…rather or not you are on a “purposeful diet” or not. The response from your body is the same : adapt to this new lower calorie intake for survival. It changes many processes (your “metabolism” ) in order to conserve precious energy. Some of the adaptations include: decreased thermic effect of food, decreased NEAT (non exercise activity–aka that need to really tap your foot etc) , slowed digestion , slower cellular turnover , increased sleepiness (your body is trying to slow you down) , decreased feeling of energy, decreased libido, decreased hair/ nail growth, menstrual irregularities, increased levels of cortisol, altered leptin /ghrelin hormones, increased hunger that you can’t control, increased catabolic hormones, decreased thyroid function..and many many more. Basically, you will feel crappy , not be able to recover as much , and just won’t feel as good as you should. Your body is not always going to spend its precious energy (limited calories) on the process of fat loss.
Once you do this for an extended amount of time, your body will continue to down-regulate all of the metabolic processes and you have no option but to 1) decrease your calories even more or increase your activity to make more of a deficit OR 2)just quit and binge eat until you feel better. Both of which will make the problem even worse…enter YO-YO dieter for life. (((((THERE IS A FIX FOR THIS THAT I’LL COVER IN ANOTHER POST THOUGH, DON’T DESPAIR!!!))))
If you are on a diet and just experiencing a stall in weight loss, that is normal. I’m talking about someone who has been 100% adherent for an extended amount of time OR if you are religiously tracking and have had to decrease to 1000 calories or hours of cardiovascular exercise a day to see results. This is not normal ! It is not sustainable and will likely result in rapid regain of any weight that is lost. I went through this for years. One time period, I even strictly stuck to a very low carb / high fat (strict keto) diet for 20 weeks straight. I lost some initial water weight that most low-carbers experience, then over the following months, I saw little to no change in weight. I never cheated the diet once and I continued a regular workout program and never missed. By the end, I was averaging 1000 calories or less. So stupid. I didn’t have much muscle definition and I basically looked “skinny fat”. I started losing my hair, lost my menstrual cycle, my weight lifting strength went down , my mood and energy were terrible . I started researching and that’s how I came across this topic…story after story of women , basically starving and working out, with little to no results. This whole topic is pretty popular in the physique / bodybuilding competition community, but, I wasn’t into that at that time. Some people in the scientific world think this whole concept is made up, while many other trainers and coaches have had tons of clients/ athletes experience this. I am extremely motivated / dedicated when I put my mind to something, and I can tell you that I was 100% strict with the calculations / weighing / diet adherence and this “phenomenon” is indeed possible.
It’s been several years since I learned of all this and have since corrected the problem through a process called ” reverse dieting” or , basically, slowly adding in calories and decreasing exercise . It has worked beautifully !! I have had many time periods of eating 2500-2800 calories with little to no cardio and little to no fat gain! Food for the win!!!!!!!!! I’ll go over how to do this in a more detailed post next time…until then, just know , if you are experiencing this, you are not alone!!!!!!! Food is not the enemy and you can fix this problem!
Happy and Healthy Living Y’all !!
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