There is this saying going around on social media: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”
I would have to strongly disagree with that one. I’ve been super lean by restricting food and over-exercising and let me tell you that was miserable. I was mad at everyone because I was hungry (hungry) and I just wanted to eat all the food! Now, years later, I have a healthy relationship with food and I see my hunger as a a good thing.
So many of the clients I talk to are currently on a diet, or they were on a diet “last year” and they “lost a bunch of weight”. And now they are coming to me to figure out how to eat.
We sit down, and I take their measurements, their weight (which they always hate) and their body fat percentage. Then I use a formula to determine their BMR (basal metabolic rate) and their suggested calorie intake based on their weight, body fat and daily activity.
If I had to make an estimation, I would say 92% of the women that I consult with do not take in the right amount of calories. You may be thinking, “Yeah, they are probably stuffing their faces, and that’s why they can’t lose weight.” Actually, this is not the case.
Women are absolutely shocked (and they look at me with a suspicious eye) when I tell them they need to be eating MORE!
It’s always comical to me at this point, because most women tell me they “eat good” and then proceed to tell me they have cereal for breakfast (if anything), a granola bar for snack and a salad for lunch. Then, they usually gorge at dinner because they are so hungry. The calories when totaled up usually are less than 1200 or close to 1000.
As a general rule of thumb, ladies should never be going below 1200 calories.
But the funny thing is most women think that since this is the minimum amount that is recommended, then they should be eating the minimum in order to lose weight. This is simply not true — and let me break it down simply.
My goal for my clients is to have them eating as many calories as possible in order to maintain or lose weight. Hello — who wouldn’t want to be eating more!? If you start with your calories too low, your metabolism will slow, because your body goes into starvation mode. Our bodies were designed to keep us alive during a famine or a long winter, so they start to hold onto fat when food (calories) are in short supply.
In order to lose weight, yes, you need to be in a slight calorie deficit – but you’ve got to start as high as possible so you have somewhere to go.
So we start with the BMR (basal metabolic rate) which is how many calories your body burns while at rest, then we add in your exercise to find out your calorie needs on exercise days. THEN we get you up to those calories slowly if you are eating too little right now. In order for nutrition and exercise to work, your metabolism has to be healthy. Once you are at a healthy calorie level, you can increase your exercise and you will begin to see results. Then if you need to change something, you can reduce your daily calories by 100-200. The point is, not to reduce the calories too low and then keep them there, because your body will stop burning fat.
This brings me back to hunger — it’s not bad to feel hungry! In fact, once you start feeding yourself more high quality clean meals with high protein every few hours, your body will begin to be hungry more often. This is a sign that your metabolism is speeding up and you are burning the fuel you are putting in. That is what we want!
So, starting now, pick up a copy of Tosca Reno’s clean eating book called The Eat Clean Diet, stop counting calories and worrying about how many you are eating and just start feeding yourself clean foods. It’s a simple way to start getting in more healthy meals that your body will respond to!
Head over to my Facebook page and hit the “Like” button to follow my daily tips on eating, working out and living a rule breaker lifestyle. As always, you can comment below if you have any questions or would like to see any other blog topics.