You’re frustrated. You’ve been great about tracking what you eat, making sure you exercise, and there is no possible way that you are taking in more calories than you are burning so why aren’t you losing weight? The reality is, eating less is not always the solution. In fact, I would say that at least 1 in 5 of my clients was eating too LITTLE to lose weight when we first started training together. This fact defies all of the industry norms and ideas about weight loss so let’s dig in.
How Can You Eat Too Little To Lose Weight?
The main factor here is metabolism. When we don’t give our bodies enough calories, they react by grinding to a halt in an attempt to conserve energy (calories=energy!). This means that, not only is weight loss stalled, but there are often other side effects such as fatigue, nausea, slowed brain function, and digestive issues. All this on top of the fact that you’re probably feeling hungry and deprived all the time too!
Your body will do anything it can to stay the same weight. Consistency is key, and this means that the less energy you take in, the less energy your body will let you put out in the form of the thermic effect of eating, calories burned through exercise, and calories absorbed from your food (I will go into all of this in a future post, but for now, rest assured that it is a lot more complicated than the phrase “calories in vs. calories out” makes things sound).
How Little is Too Little?
There is a lot of individualized information that I would need to know about you to tell you how much you should be eating (that’s what my online nutrition coaching is for!), but a good place to start is finding out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This number refers to the amount of calories you would burn if you literally did nothing but laid in bed all day. It takes calories to keep our brains, internal organs, and all that fun stuff functioning and this number tells us what that is. If you want to calculate this for yourself, try this website, they do a pretty good job of estimating it for you. Your BMR is the BARE MINIMUM you need to function normally. This doesn’t factor in the calories you burn from walking around, fidgeting, sitting up, standing, eating food, working out, and all the other things you do in daily life. If you are eating less than your BMR, your going to feel like crap and your body will fight you every step of the way. If you are active in any way, shape or form, you probably need to be eating a couple hundred calories a day above this number.
Knowing what and how much to eat can be complicated and confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Learning to listen to your body about what food it needs and how much is HARD in a world that is full of snacks that are literally designed by scientists to bypass the body’s communication system, but I am here to help you gain back control over your body and your life. Contact me via the contact page above or leave a comment to learn how you can get started on the path to a better relationship with food and a healthier body.