When looking to lose weight, most people understand the principle of ‘calories in vs calories out’. If you eat more than you burn, you get bigger. If you eat less than you burn, you get smaller.
So, to lose weight, the answer is to eat less? Dieting right? I will then take in less than I burn …. Well hold your horses!
What is often underestimated is the second half of that equation – what you burn. Or to be more precise, what your metabolism burns.
Your metabolism is a complex system, and it is influenced by a number of things. Your metabolism will be affected by how much or how little you consume, your muscle mass and body fat percentage and a vast array of other factors.
Sadly, what many people do not realise is that it is easy to lower your metabolism and once you have done so, hard to fire it up again.
So, what is metabolic damage? I describe it as a process of actions that have without intention, lowered your metabolism to extremely low levels.
So, could you be suffering? Does this sound familiar?
You previously have looked to lose weight, so you cut down the amount of food you consume. You lost some weight and initially did well, but then after a period you lost the mental battle, it was tough, so you returned to old habits, fell of the band wagon, and actually binged. In that period, you put on weight. You were really cross about it and to make matters worse, you were bigger than you were when you first started to diet! So you go for it again, with renewed determination. You cut out even more food, possibly with a new diet. Initially it went well, you lost some weight, probably a few lbs. But again, you lost the battle and binged, you had another bad period and put on more weight. When you look back, you were even bigger now than you were when you started the first diet! So you look for another diet, you cut out even more food…. it continues.
Well the sad reality is, this is very common.
If you take a step back and consider what has happened here, it is enlightening to know that you have probably damaged your metabolism and achieved little else. Over a sustained period of cycles you have dieted. This lowered your metabolism (as it adjusts to the amount is received). Then over that sustained period you have eaten heavily, with a new permanently lower metabolism – the perfect environment for your body to pack on serious weight. And you have done it on several occasions! Your metabolism is now low, it is adapted to the dieting phases that you are putting in. The problem is that the diets are not sustainable in the long term.
This yo yo pattern is very typical, it is something I have seen a lot. I have trained many people who have metabolic damage.
The answer is to change your focus. Yes, to lose weight you will need to get to a calorie deficit, but you want these deficits to come at a time when your metabolism is racing. You have to have strategies in place to fire and raise your metabolism long term and side by side. You need to create the environment to be eating at realistic, sustainable and enjoyable amount of food whilst also losing weight. So how do you fix and repair your metabolism?
Stay tuned for the next blog and I will share some tips!