Since we all know the simple reality of weight-loss is eating fewer calories than you expend, it stands to reason the less you eat, the more you’ll lose, right?
The fact is, we know at our weight loss boot camp, that if you eat too little not only will your weight-loss slow down and perhaps stall entirely, but you’ll start losing weight from the places you really don’t want to lose it from. Our aim, remember, is to lose fat and gain, or at least preserve, muscle.
But it serves us well to remember our bodies are the result of millions of years of evolution, in which our ancestors were able to survive famine and starvation. You are the descendants of the ones who survived because their bodies had the slight “edge” needed.
And the upshot of that means your body is very efficient at hanging on to calories it needs when the incoming food-supply is cut below a certain level. What it means in practical terms is the weight you do lose will be muscle, not fat. Eventually you’ll start to cannibalise your internal organs – and that can cause permanent damage.
So if you’re tempted to skip meals in the mistaken belief that doing so will somehow accelerate your fat loss, you’re making a big mistake.
Here are just some of the ways you’re storing up trouble for yourself:
1. You’re going to make yourself very very hungry. Unless you’ve got super-human willpower, you’re going to break… and binge. You know as well as I do, that’s a vicious circle, because you’ll promise yourself “next time I’ll be stronger… and stricter to make up for that binge!”. We both know that doesn’t work.
2. You may slow your metabolism down, so instead of burning fat, it’s clinging onto it.
3. You can make yourself physically and psychologically ill. Starve/binge/starve behaviour is not healthy, not in any way.
Here’s my advice: if you’ve been really cutting back on your food and you’re getting frustrated because you think you’ve hit a weight-loss “plateau”, increase your food intake by about 20% for a couple of days before cutting it back by just 10% (meaning you’ll be eating about 10% more than you were before).
This can often get your metabolism back up to speed and burning that unwanted fat again!