Most people assume that in order to lose weight, you need to eat less. However, perpetual under-eating is not the answer! Weight loss is not always that simple. Actually, keeping yourself on a caloric deficit for too long is not only unhealthy, you will eventually plateau and stop seeing results. In addition, starving yourself by under eating will also have you binge eating on the weekends or late at night. You’re probably already doing this! And binge drinking counts! Alcohol is a bunch of empty calories that spike your insulin levels just like binge eating on ice cream would!
This constant cycle of “trying” to eat well and diet, then binge eating, followed by food guilt and regret, then back to calorie restriction will keep you at the same weight if not fatter. You will never see the results you want, and you will constantly feel like garbage because you think you’re “dieting” and “trying your best,” but really you’re just keeping yourself in this vicious psychological drama of food punishment, then reward, followed by guilt/regret, and then more self-punishment. WHY?!?!?!? PLEASE STOP! RIGHT NOW! It is not positive, and it’s definitely not productive! This type of behavior is very detrimental not only to your physical health, but your mental health as well. You are cultivating a negative relationship with food, with this punishment/reward drama. Suddenly healthy food becomes a chore, something unpleasant that you don’t want to eat, and all the food that you reward yourself with like cake, or burgers, become the foods that you only want to eat. But, even though you want to eat these foods, you know you shouldn’t, or that you “can’t” because you’re fat…That is a whole pile of psychological warfare that you just unleashed on yourself, will only keep you fat, and miserable. Why do that to yourself?! When there’s literally so many people out there willing to do that for you? LOL You really need to be your biggest advocate, not your worst enemy! Especially when you’re trying to change your life in a positive way! You need to start believing that you deserve to be happy, and that you can have the body you want. Once you start believing that you can have better, you will start to change your behavior and the way you treat yourself. This will ultimately have a positive impact on your relationship with food.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you that you may be going about weight loss completely wrong, then let me drop some more knowledge on you! Severe calorie restriction, depletion diets, and Ketosis are very effective for quick, short-term weight loss. For example, these were some of the tactics that I used to prepare me for my last Bodybuilding show. I lost 40 lbs in 4 months. However, I would not recommend this to the average person. First of all, it is very difficult! It is both mentally and physically challenging, and most people do no have the will power, and the discipline to stick to the diet without cheating. Again, if you calorie restrict like I did for my show, but you cheat and binge eat, then this sort of diet will not work, and you will not see the results you’re looking for. Secondly, you will not be able to maintain this way of eating for a long time. This is why most bodybuilders who prep for shows only diet strictly for 3-4 months maximum to get stage ready. And when a bodybuilder has a cheat meal, or re-feed meal, it is planned, and controlled to a single meal. This meal will help the athlete continue to loose weight by shocking the body and raising leptin levels. Again, this is a planned meal to help further the athlete’s weight loss. In addition, these athletes are doing depletion workouts, and they are training the entire time they are prepping for a show. This is because a bodybuilder, while dieting, is trying to preserve as much muscle as possible.
This is also a short-term weight loss goal! I REPEAT SHORT TERM WEIGHT LOSS! And, if you do end up doing this sort of show prep or strict diet, then you need to reverse diet! It is so important to slowly incorporate all the carbs and fats that you severely restricted in the first place. There are several reasons why it is so important, first of all you don’t want to gain back all the weight you lost and then some! Second, your body will be so sensitive to carbs and fats that your digestion system will have a hard time processing all the excess carbs and fats that it wasn’t used to eating for a while. Basically, you can make yourself sick if you just revert back to your old habits so soon after dieting so hard. Plus yo-yo dieting like this will only weaken your metabolism, making it more difficult for you to lose weight in the future. I can go on and on about the damaging effects of yo-yo dieting, but basically every time you do a crazy diet, hit your goal, fall back into your old ways, then go back on a crazy diet, you are not only damaging your health, but making it more and more difficult for you to lose weight in the future.
One of the comparison photos my coach made showcasing my 40 lb weight loss for my show
Moreover, under-eating will only weaken your body slowly over time. Keeping yourself in a constant calorie deficit will force your body to rid itself of muscle and store more body fat. This is because your body is adapting to being starved on a regular basis, and because muscles burn more calories than fat, muscle tissue becomes a liability and therefore your body will literally eat itself, as gross as that sounds. LOL So, as you continue to starve yourself, your body loses muscle, becomes weaker, and therefore “fattier.” You may not grow in size right away, but your body’s metabolism, strength, and endurance, all get depleted. Now that you are weaker, slower, and fattier, when you eventually binge eat, or cheat on your diet, those excess calories stick to your body as fat more easily. Your body’s metabolism is slower, and weaker so it is not able to burn through all the cake and ice cream you decided to “reward” yourself with.
If you’re looking for long-term results, and long-term weight loss that will actually last, then your diet must be both moderate and consistent. Stop punishing yourself and your body with crash diets, and severe long-term calorie restriction and binge eating. Eat foods you actually like to eat! Don’t force yourself to eat foods that you hate just because you think they’re healthy! Making manageable, positive changes to your diet will be more effective in the long-term. Healthy eating, and eating within your macro-nutrients needs to become a part of your lifestyle. Meaning that the VAST majority of the time you are eating well, and within your caloric and macro-nutrient limits for the day.You need to understand that eating well should not be a chore, it should be something that you and your body deserve! Candy, cheesecake, whatever you like eating the most, only tastes good while you’re eating it… What I mean to say is, is that the feeling of happiness you get from eating these foods only lasts as long as you eat them! However, the endorphins you get from working out last way beyond the workout itself. The feeling of pride, and accomplishment from reaching your fitness goals, last forever! When you know you’re eating well, sticking to your macro-nutrients, working out, and basically taking care of yourself LOL You take pride in that. You’re not ashamed of what you’re eating, or embarrassed because you’re not doing the things you know you should do. If anything, when people are taking care of themselves, especially nowadays, they are literally broadcasting it everywhere! Taking photos of their healthy food, and gym selfies galore! LOL When you finally feel good in your own skin, no one can take that away from you! The happiness, confidence, and pride you feel never goes away (unless you find some way to take it away from yourself). Your peers will recognize and admire this pride, and self-respect. Positivity breeds positivity!
In conclusion, if you really want to make a change in your life for the better. If you want to lose weight, for whatever reason, stop punishing yourself! Stop talking negatively about yourself, stop starving yourself, and start to treat yourself and your body with respect. As I have quoted in this blog before “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live in,” Jim Rohn. If you need help figuring out how much you should be eating a day, or even what foods to eat in general, then talk to a nutritionist, dietician, or accomplished fitness professional who can help you get on the right track. There are so many resources that exist that there is no reason that you shouldn’t be able to do your own learning when it comes to nutrition and food. Take an interest in your health! It is the most valuable thing you can own! There are tools like MyFitnessPal that are extremely helpful, and Google LOL And well there is me haha you can always ask me. I always do my best to help spread the wealth! There’s plenty of knowledge out there, it is your job to seek it out!