Happy New Year all!
Below is a guest post from a Dave Brockway of Before 2 After to help with your nutrition goals as you start the new year afresh.
As much as I believe that you need to have started your journey towards a new you before January 1st, and not attach importance to one particular date on the calendar, this piece will definitely help you gain a better understanding of the nutritional side of things.
Over to you Dave!
Things That Will Make Fat Loss Fail In The New Year : You Cut Your Calories Too Low
If you are looking to lose weight, then to some degree you need to be in a calorie deficit.
If you cut them too low for too long then you are setting yourself up for a massive fat gain. Sometimes with calories lower than half your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) you can start gaining
Fat loss is controlled by a cascade of hormonal reactions in the body. This is a very complex and clever system designed to make you survive famines and droughts. I always monitor my clients calorie intake for several reasons. But the main reason is to see if they are getting enough nutrients and calories to make sure they can function effectively, not only in the gym but in real life. So often I will meet clients, especially women, on 1200 calories when their BMR should be around 1900-2000. The problem with this is hormones like Thyroid and Ghrelin go haywire and slow down your metabolism making you very hungry. This is also very stressful on the body and stress hormones like Cortisol become elevated which also has an effect on fat loss.
The issue with most people is they start by cutting their calories to 1200 from the beginning and get great results. The results are a bit Emperors New Clothes as it’s mainly water and lean muscle tissue (Depending on how large you are) with some fat. Then the hormone system designed to survive sends chemical signals around the body indicating you are going into starvation mode. That then makes fat storage much easier and the hormones that become active to help oxidise fat down regulate. Any scale weight lost at this point will be muscle. This with slow your metabolism down.
With all that said, the hormones will also continually send signals to the brain saying ‘You are starving, eat!’. After a period of time you will either have a massive binge or give up totally. We are designed to survive not starve.
If I have a client sitting in front of me and I look at their nutrition diaries and they are consuming really low calories with maybe excessive cardio. They will have to raise the calories slowly to return everything to normal. I will also make sure they are having a full spectrum of nutrients before we even discuss lowering calories. This can be difficult to convince someone if at the beginning of a phase they had great results. Psychologically most resist something they think will gain weight. The truth of the matter is sometime there are phases where fat loss peaks, which is actually productive as you regulating hormones to speed metabolism.
Work out you BMR and start monitoring your calories from here. I’m not a huge fan of numbers like this as we are all different and we produce energy differently due to gender, genetics and environmental aspects. But this is good place to start. Then if nothing moves after a week, drop 50 to 100 calories. If you start cutting too low beware.
Signs That You Are Cutting Too Aggressively
Dave Brockway is the owner of Before 2 After Training.
Hi, Lou here, I'll be sharing my thoughts and insights via my blog regularly, so please stay tuned!