I'm five days into my 80 Day Challenge and for those who don't know, the meal plan of this program focuses on pairing specific macronutrients into meals while also spreading them throughout the day so that your body can absorb and maximize the nutrients. This is definitely NOT a diet and I am already tired of eating. I feel like I'm turning into a vegetable! But I'm trusting the program and the process.
I know our culture preaches the benefits of "dieting" and cutting out entire macronutrient groups to drop weight fast but research has shown us time and time again that in order to achieve sustainable, long lasting results and end the cycle of yo-yo dieting, it is important to remember that how much we eat is just as important as what we're eating.
There are a lot of things out there these days that preach a quick and easy way to lose weight. I'm not going to name any of them here because I'm a firm believer in promoting what I love rather than bashing what I hate so that's exactly what I'm going to do...
Please listen to me: You do not have to starve yourself to lose weight. In fact, serious calorie deprivation and skipping meals isn't doing any favors for your weight loss goals.
We all require a minimum number of calories every single day just to simply exist. We burn calories when we sleep, when we breathe, when we digest food...you get the idea. This calorie baseline is called your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and it is determind by factors such as your gender, age, height, and weight. Your BMR accounts for about 70% of the calories you burn every day. If you dip below this baseline, not only are you going to feel devoid of energy but your body is going to hold on to every ounce of fat it can because it doesn't know when it's next meal is going to come.
“A starvation diet does not mean the absence of food; it means cutting the total caloric intake to less than 50% of what the body requires,” according to NetWellness.org. If you end up depriving your body to the extreme, it will adapt to low calorie consumption by reducing the amount of energy it uses to function. And then it will stop burning fat and start metabolizing lean tissue and muscle mass instead. Once that process begins, your rate of metabolism steadily decreases as a safety measure to account for any future food shortages."
Bottom line? You need to eat. To prevent a slowdown in metabolism, most experts recommend consuming no fewer than 1,200 calories per day. A good but not exact formula to calculate your BMR is to multiply your weight by 11. I'm 145 pounds so my BMR is 1,595. However, I burn several hundred calories each day through exercise and have an extremely high metabolism so I normally shoot for about 2,200 calories a day. I've eaten this many calories for years (while using a portion control system) and have continued to build lean muscle and seen a tremendous increase in strength. I've helped many others do the same.
Have you taken a moment to really examine why you want to lose weight in the first place? What is that intrinsic motivation that initially inspired you to make this decision? This is the time to ground yourself and embrace this journey with a fresh perspective. Wanting to be a better version of yourself is a great start—just make sure you’re doing it as healthfully as possible. Quick fixes are not the answer. Are you ready to make a change and get started on a path to long term, sustainable results and true, whole-body health?