The Reason Why Your Fat Loss Nutrition Isn’t Working
There are two general types of dieters that I’ve observed over the years. The OCD under-eaters and the not-so-consistent “but I eat so well” dieters. The former of the two dieter factions being stuck between a rock and a hard place with their fat loss efforts. The latter of this dieting conundrum being consistent to a point, but caving in far too frequently during the week to hunger pangs of nachos, ice cream and popcorn to elicit any real fat loss and then still re-feeding every Saturday night as if they really need it. You can recognize these folks simply by the chicken wings, beer and pizza all combined into one evening meal, which is useful for a bout of hard dieting, but only if you been consistently hitting your numbers all week.
It may even feel like you’ve been doing a good job at sticking with your nutritional programming, because you’re having a few more salads, maybe adding little more fruits and consuming more amounts of protein than any caveman ate in a whole week; however, the problem is you may not be creating a deficit in which to lose any noticeable body fat.
Why Isn’t Your Fat Loss Deficit Working
The reason your fat loss nutrition isn’t working is because of these two things, your calorie deficit isn’t enough to accommodate fat loss or you are eating too little, to the point where your metabolism is shutting down. That’s it.
It’s a really simple fact that you have to be in calorie deficit to lose body fat. Whether you’re getting that calorie deficit through eating alone, working out, or a combination of both (which is ideal) it doesn’t really matter what you’re eating as long as you can stick with it for the long haul.
So now we have kind of a double whammy problem. A damned if you do damned if you don’t scenario. The dieter over consuming on calories on some occasions and under eating to account for this on other days is essentially creating a weight stability, where there will be no fat loss, nor gain. That’s okay if you want to stay the same. But you are not really burning anything.
The second part of this is scenario refers to the OCD Under-Eaters, who are chronically in caloric deficit. Wait a minute, isn’t that the overall goal of dieting, to be in a chronic deficit?
Well, yes, but only up to a point.
These dieters that have been diligently dieting very well and are under their daily numbers for long periods of time have another type of problem. They are so concerned with losing weight that they don’t want to screw anything up, so even when they need to have a night of overeating they choose instead to keep on the straight and narrow. These people are going to have trouble because their metabolisms start dropping like a rock, because they’re not eating enough to maintain themselves.
You have to essentially be able to maintain a caloric deficit for a small amount of time consistently with a small level of re-feeding to keep the body happy and maintain a high metabolic rate.
And here’s where the rubber meets the road.
Now everyone has heard the term calories in versus calories out, but what does all that really mean. It seems pretty simple if you were to just count how many calories you eat every day and then find a simple calculation method for determining how much daily calorie burning you do every day. This explanation would suffice in general terms and yet it still doesn’t work as promised. Why not?
The problem lies in terms of calories ARE NOT just calories. Calories are absorbed and processed differently depending upon the quality and type of calories that you’re ingesting.
Take protein for example. Pretty much every nutritional protocol to date recommends increasing dietary protein. It’s a no brainer why protein helps in weight loss. Protein increases satiety or the satisfaction after meals, it increases the recovery process, helps build lean tissue and is processed very slowly by the body making it very hard to turn into body fat.
Whereas carbohydrates tend to digest rather rapidly, depending upon the fiber content, processing and overall sugar content. These foods not only have a greater insulin response, but can cause a fluctuation in our moods and energy levels throughout the day increasing hunger at inopportune times.
Fats can serve as a problem for some individuals that are eating combinations of carbs and protein, since they can be easily stored as fat, but in the right combinations can be more effective at keeping energy levels stable, digesting slowly, and increasing satiety to help you feel less hungry over time.
So with these short explanations of the differences in calories from various sources, and this is by far not a complete listing how do you know what to eat to create a calorie deficit?
Eating Less and Less
The simple answer is to eat less, overall. You can start with reducing portion sizes of meals, limiting the types of processed foods you eat, like taking away the candy bar you have after work on the way home, or simply increasing the amounts of fiber rich foods to keep you satisfied longer. You can try consuming only foods through liquid forms, which happens to work very well for a while, until you grow very, very bored with protein shakes and coffee. You can increase your daily protein intake with every meal, which helps keep you fuller for longer—thus enabling you to eat less and feel less hungry. You can even go to the point of calculating up your daily calories in a program like the MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, etc., although don’t blame me if you turn into a calorie counting fanatic. A problem in itself!
There are a million different ways to do this, some better than others, but the biggest problem with this approach is that you eventually get to a point of no return with this approach. Once you’ve reduced your calories to a critical level once or twice you eventually get to the point where you don’t have anywhere to go. Once you’re eating below 1000kcals a day you’re not going to be able to function optimally.
The Re-Feed Solution
So why is it important to re-feed the body periodically? To keep your overall metabolism up and running! The OCD Under-Eaters can still maintain their levels of fat loss as long as they are willing to commit to performing a bit of strategery, yep, I said strategery (technically, not even a word) to trick their bodies into believing they still have optimal amounts of nutrients coming in.
This tactical use of over feeding is a key stimulus in fat loss efforts, as it not only gives our bodies some tasty treats that we crave and can dull down the monotony of eating leafy greens, fibrous vegetables and proteins. It simply gives our body what we want and in this case need.
The reason this works so well is because the body isn’t so efficient to take one day of poor eating choices and stockpile loads of fat. IF THIS were true, we’d all be 10lbs heavier after drinking a bottle of wine, drinking a six-pack of beer and the burgers, fries and nachos to go along with it. With a consistently lower caloric load for a short amount of time the body will choose to use those calories to build muscle and repair any damages from training imparted during the week.
This re-feed will serve to bolster your immune defenses, refuel tapped out glycogen stores and reinvigorate you to tackle further bouts of training and dieting, leading to more optimal fat loss.
Is It Time For A Re-Feed?
So will all that being said, you do have to remain in a caloric deficit to elicit any noticeable fat loss gains, so if you’re cheating on a far too regular basis you’re not going to be losing anything. If you’re a bit OCD with your dieting, then maybe you need to take a short interlude once a week and go kill the buffet. You may find your fat loss and metabolism to really kick on the afterburners both mentally and physically. So let’s get started kicking some butt with our nutrition. Eat at a slight deficit to start losing fat, diet hard during the week (and sustain it without cheating) to get to the reward night where you can kill whatever you like and help out your fat loss in ways you couldn’t imagine.
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