We all know you need to eat less to lose fat. If you take in fewer calories than you burn you’re going to lose weight.
In the quest for weight loss, it’s easy to take things too far. If eating less caused you to lose 3 pounds, then eating a lot less can cause you to lose 10 pounds. It may happen. You may lose 10 pounds but was it 10 pounds of fat? Probably not. You would probably burn muscle mass as well.
Regularly eating fewer calories than your body needs can slow your metabolism. It may not be temporary either. Your metabolism may stay depressed for long periods after excessive caloric restriction. One of the ways your metabolism slows is through the burning of muscle mass for energy.
When you restrict calories too much you don’t take in as many carbohydrates and fats. Carbs and fats are you’re the energy sources for your muscles. They put sugars into the bloodstream for the cells to use to keep things moving. When there’s not enough sugar available to meet your energy needs the body has no choice but to use muscle for energy. The body breaks down muscle tissue and converts it to energy to be used by the rest of the body.
Have you heard the term “skinny fat?” A person can look thin but lack enough muscle mass to be healthy. A person can be thin but still be clinically obese. If you feel the arm of a skinny fat person its very soft, lacking muscle tone and shape. The arm is soft and fleshy from excess fat tissue.
It’s important to eat enough energy to fuel an active lifestyle. The more you move the more the body adapts to the movement. Exercise is a great example. Getting to the gym and exercising consistently conditions the body to be more efficient with how it burns energy. The metabolism increases and becomes more efficient.
Yes, you must restrict calories to lose fat. But don’t restrict too much. Figure out how much food you need to eat to maintain your weight given your current level of exercise. Maintain your weight for a month or two to make sure you know how much food to eat. Are you exercising? If not, start exercising regularly. What happens to your weight? Over time it should decrease because you’re burning more calories and keeping your metabolism high.
If things are going well and you’re losing a little weight, then you can decrease your calories a little more. Try taking 300 to 500 calories a day out of your diet. What happens now? Over time you should lose weight a little faster.
The key to this process of slowly lowering your calories while your exercising it to make sure you have enough energy. If you feel tired or lethargic you probably aren’t eating enough. Find the right number of calories to lose weight and keep your energy levels high.