Have you been tuning in to our Atlanta and Company segments the last couple of weeks?
Rachel Stroud, our GMM Registered Dietitian and Community Wellness Rep, has been joining host Rashan Ali to discuss some really important keys to weight-loss success. She will continue this series each week for the next few weeks, so make sure to tune in at 12:30 each Wednesday for some informed discussion (and a special FLASH SALE discount!!).
Hopefully you’ve already made the pledge to yourself to Commit to Lean in 2014 and are on your way toward meeting your health goals this year. If you are, you know that the process of re-learning portion control and creating those engrained healthy habits takes a while.
The complicated part is that so many diets out there make weight loss about less, less, less. Less calories, less food equals MORE WEIGHT LOSS.
But for real weight loss that lasts, we need to replace the idea of “less” with the concept of balance and of sustainability. Repeat that to yourself: balance and sustainability. Balance and sustainability.
Energy Balance is the simplest equation we have for achieving weight loss or weight maintenance. Our body takes in energy through food and beverages, and we put energy out through basic survival, activities of daily life, and planned exercise. If we want to lose weight, we have to put out more energy than we’re taking in.
The calories you personally need each day for basic survival is called your Basil Metabolic Rate. It’s the number of calories your body need to function if you simply laid in bed all day. Those calories are the energy necessary for your heart to pump, your lungs to expand, and your lean muscles to be fueled.
Now, IF, in the name of quick weight loss, you eat LESS than your body’s Basil Metabolic Rate, your body will enter “Starvation Mode.” Starvation mode changes the way the body processes nutrients so it stores our fat (gasp!) and breaks down muscle for the energy it needs instead.
Now here’s the real kicker: fueling our muscles with oxygen and energy is a significant part of our metabolic rate, so let’s say your body breaks down muscle to fuel itself during your diet regimen of drastic calorie-cutting. In the process, you’ve lessened the amount of calories your body needs in a day. This means that instead of functioning at your normal (for example) 1700 calories necessary per day, your body has dropped and acclamated to functioning on (for example) 1000 calories per day.
Now let’s say you go back to consuming the amount of calories you used to at your former Basil Metabolic Rate, or what you used to consider “normal” before severely cutting your calories. At that point it is going to be harder to continue to lose weight and to keep the weight you have lost off, because during the “starvation mode” period you have decreased your metabolism by decreasing your muscle mass.
The moral of the story is: the only way to increase your metabolism (so that you can actually burn away that FAT) is to build more muscle. This raises your metabolism and the amount of calories you burn in a day, despite your physical activity. Very low calorie diets shoot down your metabolism and cause you to lose muscle.
Unless you want to continue cutting away calories and restricting your access to food for the rest of your life, losing weight the healthy and sustainable way means keeping your muscle and your metabolism and burning away your fat with a balance of nutrition and calorie intake that works for your exercise level and Basal Metabolic needs.
Ever heard a weight loss plan tell you that you need to eat to lose weight? We just did.
Tune in each week at 12:30 p.m. on Atlanta and Company to hear the discussion continue with Rachel and Rashan about healthy weight loss.
And if you’re curious about how many calories YOU need per day, fill out your info in the Calorie Calculator tool at the bottom of the homepage of our website, or schedule a Med Gem appointment with one of our dietitians to find out your exact Basal Metabolic Rate!