Most Common Mistakes - Reducing Calories Too Much
If weight loss is your goal, you’re aiming for a calorie deficit - meaning you need to eat fewer calories than you burn each day.
The fewer calories you get from food and drink, the more your body has to rely on stored energy to make up for the deficit and replace the calories that should be coming in, but aren’t.
It seems logical to assume that the fewer calories you eat (the larger the calorie deficit), the faster you’ll lose weight.
This is true to a certain point, but you have to remember that your body NEEDS a minimum amount of energy (calories) to remain functional. A minimum amount of energy needed to stay alive.
The speed at which your body can break down fats to be used as fuel is limited, so beyond a certain point of calorie restriction, you’re putting your health at risk. This is the point that you’re not meeting your body’s basic calorie needs with food and drink, nor can your body produce the extra energy quickly enough to make up that deficit.
This happens when you reduce calories too drastically and is far too common in the weight loss communities because people always think more is better, and impatience is the name of the game.
Whilst the formulas aren’t 100% accurate, it’s worth searching online for a weight loss calculator to determine what your calorie target should be.
If you’re a long-time “dieter”, you’ll likely be surprised at the number of calories you should be eating and have probably been aiming far below that number for quite a while.
What you may not have realised is that this will have been affecting your muscle mass, your hormones, your mood and just about every other bodily function, most, if not all of which will have slowed down.
Either that, or you’ve actually NOT been at the calories you thought you were, either because of binges to compensate for a lack of calories, or through under-reporting what you’re eating and drinking (i.e. consuming more calories than you think you have been).
The key with diet is to create a modest daily calorie deficit, maybe 300 calories or so.
300 calories below your maintenance calories (the calories you need to stay the same weight), will ensure a 2,100 calorie a week deficit and a slow and steady weight loss.
This is more attainable, won’t leave you starving, and won’t be compromising your health in the long-term.
You’ll also want to include some training into your routine - this may help you burn an extra couple of hundred calories daily, further increasing the calorie deficit, but without the metabolic issues of not providing your body with the nutrients it needs.
Resistance training will also help to stimulate your muscles and encourage your body to hold onto that muscle tissue, which tips the balance in favour of breaking down more fat to provide the extra calories.
Basically, without going into too much detail, it’s important that you only reduce calorie consumption a small amount beyond your maintenance level.
If you reduce calories too much, you’ll lose weight faster, but you’ll lose a greater proportion of muscle and you’ll look and feel pretty lousy.
“Top up” that calorie deficit with resistance training to encourage your body to hold on to muscle tissue and burn more fat proportionally.
Please, avoid dropping calories too much. Whether you realise it or not (probably when it’s too late), it will be affecting your health and a slightly faster weight loss isn’t worth it!
Slow and steady wins the race!
Be sensible, be consistent, be healthy and be happy! :)