Eating Low Calories But Can’t Lose Weight? This Is Why!
Too many people are eating very low calorie diets and working out for hours yet NOT losing any more fat! If that is you, then today’s post will help you correct this issue and turn you into a fat burning machine. This problem is known in the fitness industry as Metabolic Damage.
Sadly, I have seen too many people (particularly ladies) who put themselves on starvation diets coupled with endless hours of long cardiovascular exercise each week and, for some reason, they just cannot lose any body fat. They begin to convince themselves they are meant to fail, saying things like, “I can’t lose weight no matter what I do…”
You feel like you’re working really, really hard and aren’t getting any results from it, right?
The truth is, for these people, their metabolism has adapted to their chosen lifestyle.
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What Is It?
This situation describes someone who simply cannot lose any weight, despite following a very low calorie diet (in most cases, 1200 calories per day or lower) and performing hours of cardiovascular activity on a regular basis.
Suddenly, you’re worried, right? Does this describe your situation? It affects tons of people out there (particularly ladies, who are misled by poor coaches into believing that they need to starve themselves and stay away from weights). The majority of people don’t know they have a problem and actually blame themselves for their lack of progress. Enough is enough, here is the lowdown on this controversial subject.
Who It Happens To…
Do you know someone who tends to get sucked into fad diets found in celebrity gossip magazines, which boast of instant weight loss for minimum effort? I do. Share this post with them because they are the exact type of person who this happens to.
The “I’m starving myself but I can’t lose any more weight” crowd…
They partake in diets which tell them to eat nothing but cabbage, or soup, or some other crazy idea. They put them on what is essentially a starvation diet, telling them to drop down to 500 calories per day or less…
What happens to these people? Well, first of all they lose a little bit of weight due to the shock reaction from their body. Then they hit a sticking point where they feel like they simply can’t lose weight no matter what they do, followed by feeling ill and having a serious lack of energy, but then it happens… They suddenly decide to go back to eating ‘normal’ food again and BOOM – they regain all the weight they lost almost instantaneously! In most cases, they’ll even end up heavier than when they started.
Believe it or not, this doesn’t just happen to regular people. No, there are also many so-called ‘top experts’ who preach that nonsense to their clients. They’ll have clients trying to perform 2 hours per day on a treadmill while eating a sub-1000 calorie diet and then blaming the client when they don’t see any results! Amazingly, some of these ‘experts’ are responsible for coaching athletes who reside among the world’s elite competitors. Outdated exercise strategies, such as over-prescribing steady state cardio, combined with ridiculous calorie restriction only leads to long term failure. It’s a serious issue which can cause long term health issues and lead to all kinds of trouble with your thyroid.
If your trainer is telling you to eat 500 calories per day and endure 2 hour cardio sessions – FIRE THEM IMMEDIATELY!
Why It Happens…
The body’s job is to adapt. It doesn’t care what you want to look like, it cares that you stay alive. Period. So if you are basically choosing the starve it, it’s going to react by hanging on to what it needs to in order to function. If you suddenly drop to a super low calorie diet then you can expect this reaction from your body because, as far as it is concerned, it is now in survival mode.
What happens next is your body begins to adapt to this sort of lifestyle. You begin being able to survive on a tiny amount of food per day. Even though you feel like you’re punishing yourself, you’re not shedding any more fat because your metabolism has slowed itself down in order to adapt to your new super low calorie lifestyle.
If you’re doing endless hours of cardiovascular exercise on, for example, a treadmill and following a very low calorie diet, you will notice that you lose a little bit of weight at the beginning and then it will suddenly stop. It stops because your body is forcing your metabolism to slow down in order to keep you alive.
Guys, your body is slowing your metabolism to prevent you from starving yourself.
This obviously causes frustration, then leads to binge eating and quick weight gain. Suddenly, the person has gone from an extremely low calorific intake to an extremely high intake and their body cannot handle it. This is why you’ll see people who lose a bit of weight quickly on one of these type of extreme weight loss plans (through the initial shock to the body) then suddenly hit a plateau (the body adapts and slows the metabolism down in order to protect you) and binge eat (through frustration at lack of results or sheer craving due to the starvation diet they were following), causing a rapid regaining of weight (because the body’s slow metabolism cannot deal with the sudden increase in calories now) which leaves them either back at square one or in an even worse position.
Then they panic and start the process all over again, cutting their calories back down to 500 per day and damaging themselves even further. In many cases, they’ll cut calories even further and increase cardio even more in a bid to increase quick weight loss, not realizing that they are actually making it worse. Trying to diet when you’re already metabolically damaged is really not advisable.
Worse still, they find it difficult to ever lose this weight once they have damaged their metabolism in this way because they never take the time to correct this issue.
How To Sort It Out…
The first thing to do is stop partaking in extreme diets. There is no miracle pill, people! When one is invented it will appear on the worldwide news and every health and fitness professional will back it – so stop believing the hype in gossip magazine columns and other nonsense. But what if this has already happened to you? What if you have already damaged your metabolism through this type of thing in the past?
You need to teach your body to survive on more calories. This is the only way to correct this issue in the long term. The problem being most of the people this happens to are looking for a quick fix, so the moment the word ‘long term’ is mentioned they lose interest and carry on with their destructive lifestyle, never getting the results they seek. If that’s you, then take this opportunity right now to grow up a little.
When you have damaged your metabolism by starving yourself and your body has adapted by preventing you from burning off any fat in order to keep you alive, the only way to get back to a level where you can burn fat is to teach your body how to survive on more calories per day. This takes time. It doesn’t mean slamming in 1000 more calories per day from tomorrow morning. It means gradually increasing your daily food intake by no more than 5% per week until you are able to maintain your weight while consuming a normal amount of calories.
People who have come to me for advice on how to lose weight are often shocked when I take a look at their current eating habits and then I suggest that they actually eat MORE food in order to lose weight. One lady told me she had convinced herself that carbohydrates were ‘the enemy’ and had a habit of starving herself through the week then binge eating on her favorite junk foods every weekend. She said she could eat non -stop if she had the choice.. By the end of her rehabilitation phase she was sending me messages asking me to stop giving her more food, because she felt like she was eating all the time! To fix your metabolism you need to teach it slowly, over time, how to survive without a starvation diet. Once you can do that, then simply dropping your daily calories by as little as 5% can yield fantastic fat loss results!
One of my female clients is able to maintain a lean 60kg body weight all year round on a daily carbohydrate intake of 160 grams and a daily calorie intake of 1800-2400. I know countless people who eat nowhere near this amount and spend far longer in the gym doing boring cardiovascular workouts, yet struggle to get any results at all. This is because she has worked hard to keep her metabolism healthy. Furthermore, this is a lady who had previously damaged her metabolism through fad diets and trying to drop weight quickly for holidays, etc.
So there’s proof that you can do it, too. It just takes time. Your future is defined by what you do right now, not what you did yesterday.
If you can teach your body to maintain your weight on 2500-3000 calories per day, you’ll find it far easier to drop body fat and keep it off forever. That’s because you have more room to play with when you hit sticking points. If you’re starting point is 500-1000 calories, however, and you are trying to cut down you’re going to reach a point where you enter the starvation zone relatively quickly and results begin to go backwards, particularly if you are also doing a lot of gym work, too.
It also means getting smarter with your training. Long, dull cardio has been shown to yield very little fat loss results and it actually burns lean muscle, too. So ditch this approach and keep your sessions to under one hour maximum, focusing on high intensity interval training with your cardio as well as your big, compound lifts with the weights. You can begin with the Lucky 6 Fat Loss Workout.
Now I want you to do 2 things:
1) Send this article to 2 gym friends. They will appreciate it and so do I, that’s what it’s all about!
2) If you’ve enjoyed the article today, let me know about it on the Facebook page. If this issue has affected you in the past the first thing you’ll notice when you hit the Facebook page is that you ain’t alone!
As always, you can reach me in person via our Facebook page.
If you like my no nonsense approach, my guide on what supplements to take to build muscle will help you cut through the nonsense surrounding whey protein, creatine, etc.
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