Everything you know about fitness is a lie!
Well, that probably isn’t true; but there are many myths people spew at me as gospel truths. One of them is that 1,200 calories is this mythical amount of calories you should consume to lose weight. This is simply not true. While people who are on calorie restricted diets may lose weight at first, you will more likely than not gain it back once you quit your diet; then gain back even more. Your body needs a certain amount of calories to function. When I say calories, I don’t mean junk like candy and ice cream; I mean “real” unprocessed foods. When I say function, I mean the most basic of all life supporting activities, such as breathing. This basal metabolic rate (BMR) for most people is over 1,200 calories. There are calculators online that give good starting points to calculate your BMR based on height, weight, age, sex and body fat percentage (if you know it). Remember these are estimates based on averages. Now, the number that you should be using in order to create a deficiency is your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). This includes all of your exercise and activity (or lack there of).
If you chose to eat below your BMR, physics takes over. Your body needs a certain amount of energy (calories) to function. Your body cannot break physics; thus your body cannot create energy out of nothing. If you do not supply your body enough energy, it will in turn slow down your metabolism, in order to compensate for the lack of energy. Keep this up long enough, and your body will start consuming your muscles for energy. Now, when you are tired of eating nothing, feeling awful and sluggish, and decide to revert back to how you were before you starting dieting, you have less muscles burning calories, and a slower metabolism — you’ll back all the weight you’ve lost, and then some.
So how do I break this cycle?
- Eat unprocessed foods — not food products.
- Realize all calories are not created equal. It takes more energy (calories) to digest protein, than any other macro (fats or carbs).
- Eat enough to satisfy BMR.
I know this seems illogical. I must eat more to lose weight? I promise it is a thing. Try going to scholar.google.com and search for BMR, Calorie Restricted Diets, or similar keywords and you’ll find plenty of scientific journals backing up this subject. Now that this myth is busted, help keep it that way. Spread the word! Let’s be educated on our bodies and health.
You can read more from Taylor at LiftEatFlex.com!
Taylor certainly busted that myth! The pharmacist side of me knows this. I have been taught the importance of providing fuel and nutrition to patients. That other side of me though..the one who was trying to lose weight all those years.. threw all that good sense out. And folks, that is one of those really bad ideas. So when I had some friends tell me recently they were trying to “kick-start” their diet by eating less than 800 calories a day.. I was like, “NO! Please don’t do that.” The reason is this is not a kick-start at all.. it’s actually sure fire sabotage.
Your body needs a certain amount of fuel (calories) to survive and it will resort to whatever means necessary for survival.
Ironically, I saw the following list posted by Erin Stern once, wrote it down, and posted it for myself. I then calculated my BMR the best I could estimate and it is ~1275. 🙂
More important than losing weight.. know your health! Sometimes we tend to lose sight of that.. I know that I did.