To burn fat and lose weight your body must be in an energy deficit so it's important that you are consuming the right amount of food. This will be determined by things such as your body type, your fat free mass, the amount of training you do and what your goal is. Most people associate weight gain with eating too much and it's true, if you consume more calories than you burn you will gain weight. However, most people think that the only way to lose weight is to consume minimal amounts of food, starve the body and blast themselves with hours and hours of cardio. If you are under consuming it could have serious health risks and prevent you from achieving your goal.
To burn energy, you need to consume energy.
Some people are surprised at the amount of food they are required to eat to lose weight. Sometimes I hear, "Why do I need to eat more? I'm not losing weight eating what I'm eating now, surely I need to eat less, right?" Some are sceptical when they first start but usually that's because they've heard about someone who did something that helped someone get some results at some point in time. But what works for one person may not work for another, mainly due to lifestyle, circle of influence and preference. Some still try to convince themselves that less food and more training is the answer but eventually with the right guidance, education and consistency, guess what? … They start to lose weight.
Yes, you need to be in an energy deficit to lose weight, "Eat less, move more" is a common phrase heard by those trying to shed the kg's, but it can also be misleading. It's important that your body is never in an extreme calorie deficit and you don't begin to starve yourself as things can go wrong. The human body is very smart, if it recognises that it's not receiving enough energy then it will do what it needs to do to survive and that may be the opposite of what you're wanting it to do leading to disappointment, frustration and giving up all together. When the body is in an extreme deficit and not receiving enough energy for a prolonged amount of time, its natural survival instinct will kick in and it may aim to preserve existing fat stores to prevent any more destruction.
Energy for your muscles and metabolism
The first initial stages of weight loss can be very exciting. For most it will involve reducing calories compared to what the body may be used to. This means less food is being consumed and with it less water so naturally the body becomes lighter. Unfortunately, some can become gripped by the scales resulting in a temptation to cut food even more in the hope of seeing the scales drop further. One of the consequences of under consuming can be muscle deterioration and if weight loss is a result of muscle loss then this will have a direct effect on metabolism and overall body composition. If this continues and is not rectified, then at some point the weight loss will stop aka 'plateau'.
Have you ever experienced weight loss then suddenly it just stops? Have you ever hit a plateau? Your weight doesn't move no matter how hard you train. You eat even less and you go for an extra run. You think to yourself, "surely that will help me lose weight, right?" But your weight doesn't budge or even worse, it goes up! And you're even more confused and frustrated than ever before. Does this sound familiar? Is this you?
Under eating and over training can be quite common and it could be what's stopping you from achieving your results. Under consuming could prevent you from achieving your desired body shape and it could also lead to health issues such as hormone deficiencies, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, muscle deterioration, slowed metabolism, elevated cortisol levels and fatigue. Starving the body is not the answer. If your body is having an internal battle, your battle will be both physical and mental. When it comes to achieving a better body shape, nutrition is 70-80% of the result so it's crucial that you're providing your body with the right amount of energy specific to your training and goal.
If you are trying to lose weight your tailored macronutrient requirements will already put you into an energy deficit and consistently hitting your macros along with your training will result in weight loss. But if you eat less than you're supposed to, train more and put yourself in an extreme energy deficit your body won't be able to recover properly and you could be heading down a path to disappointment. Your muscles directly influence your metabolism, they are responsible for most of the energy you burn so it's important that you're eating appropriately to maintain and/or build muscle and burn energy effectively. More muscle equals a faster metabolism.
Energy for a healthy body
The food you eat will determine which vitamins and minerals your body is absorbing as well as the amount of fibre it receives. Those that severely reduce their food intake may be at risk of deficiencies, as well as poor hormonal and gut health. Vitamins, minerals and fibre are essential for the healthy growth and development of the body. Vitamin deficiencies and poor gut health can upset the balance of sex and adrenal hormones leading to poor energy levels, feeling depressed, unmotivated or just unhappy, lack of improved body composition, reduced strength and poor performance in the gym. Poor gut health can result in all the above as well as an increase in bad gut bacteria, inflammation, metabolic diseases and pre-diabetes.
Food is your body's life source, it's just important to know how much to consume for the goals you're trying to achieve. Seeing results is extremely motivating but to see results you've got to ensure you follow the right plan and do it consistently. Working your guts out in the gym without seeing results can be demoralising so make sure you're doing the right thing, eating the right amount of food and doing the right amount of exercise.
Need help? At Vision Personal Training Camberwell we provide you with the support, knowledge and tools to ensure your success. We offer educational seminars on nutrition, exercise and emotions as well as personalised one on one nutrition sessions to ensure you have all the knowledge you need to empower yourself to take control of your own health and fitness. Contact us today to start the beginning of your new life.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.