Trying to lose excess body fat can be frustrating. For those who are leaner this could mean dropping into the single digits for a competition. This article is NOT for you. For the rest of you, keep reading.
There are a few things you must consider when you begin eating a healthier diet (or a new diet in general). If you don’t take these variables into account for your long term weight loss then you will be disspointed in a very short amount of time. You’ll start. See some results. Then, quit when the results stop coming. Want to prepare for the long term and see results? Continue reading…..
YOU BURN FEWER CALORIES ON A NEW DIET!
Did this shock you? I hope so! The idea behind a healthier diet is that you are going into a caloric deficit, the foundation of any weight loss program. Here’s the catch, your body adjusts based on your new diet and causes you to burn fewer* calories than your previous diet. Why? You body thinks your starving, even if the drop in calories is not substantial. In accordance with millions of years of evolution your body auto regulates to burn fewer calories to keep you alive. Your body has no idea you have too much. It just knows how much you’ve been carrying around for the last few months or decades and is trying to “help” you. Thanks body, you suck!
*Around 70% of the calories you burn in a day come from your BMR (basal metabolic rate). This is the amount of calories your body requires to function day-to-day (and that’s if you’re just sitting on the couch binge watching your favorite show on Netflix).
LACK OF CALORIES, LACK OF N.E.A.T!
Have you ever noticed that when you start a diet you start to have less energy? Should be a no-brainer but you are now operating with less energy (i.e. calories) than before. Your body is naturally adjusting to require less movement and this, in turn, relates to less NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis). NEAT is the amount of calories your body burns with basic movements throughout the day: taking out the trash, walking to your car, folding laundry, etc. The more tired you feel the less likely you are to perform NEAT activities.
YOUR THYROID AND YOU!
Your thyroid is a gland that sits in your throat. It’s a strong regulator of hormones throughout your body, including T3* (not to be confused with testosterone). When you reduce your caloric intake your thyroid releases less T3 into the blood stream that can slow down metabolic rate and energy levels.
*Many people are diagnosed with hypothyroidism. While this may lead to 5-10lb weight gain it is considered marginal, at best, for attributing to one being overweight or obese. That being said, having a hypoactive thyroid is NOT an excuse for being overweight.
Again, these changes on a new diet are not bad. They are part of your entire genetic makeup and body’s ability to keep you in homeostasis.
THE “BOUNCERS” GHRELIN & LEPTIN
Ghrelin is the hormone that signals hunger. Leptin is the hormone that signals fullness (stomach fullness, not spiritual fullness….come on, that was a good joke!).
When you decrease your calorie intake your body will begin using your body fat as energy. When body fat drops the hormone leptin decreases while ghrelin increases. In other words, the more weight you lose the hungrier you will become and the less full you will feel….up to a point. Foods that can help make you feel full are high in protein or fiber.
Losing body fat, while simple, can be frustrating. Use this info to help you understand your body and adjust your expectations for when you begin a new diet.
STAY FIT MY FRIENDS