By popular request!
I’ve talked before about people who have a diet and exercise plan that they figure should be working, but isn’t. And they think about and go “no, what I’m doing is about right… I should be getting results from this” and so they persist with the plan even though it isn’t working.
But today… the opposite situation. (Or is it?)
This is a situation that comes up at least every other month and sometimes costs me a few friends. What happens is that someone will tell me how they’ve lost [this amount] of weight over the past few weeks, and I’ll ask ’em how, and be horrified at the answer. Not just horrified but also a bit annoyed and offended because clearly they haven’t read any of my articles if they were actually expecting me to approve or congratulate them on this approach.
What we’re talking about here is usually beyond excessive calorie restriction, often combined with excessive exercise. As discussed already in the main program, it is bad enough that the diet industry promotes inadequate nutrition bordering on eating disorder level of calorie consumption… but I’m talking about people eating even less than these already too low amounts.
So usually a girl will choose some arbitrary low, low, low amount of calories and stick to it. And I’ll tell them “NO, you need to be eating at least twice that amount”. Of course from their point of view, “it’s working, how can you tell me it’s wrong?”
Well, here’s how.
If you’re significantly overweight… let’s say about 20 or 30kg overweight which is a lot, but far from uncommon… a diet is not successful unless it actually brings you to a healthy weight. Going from 30kg overweight to “just” 20kg overweight is not a success, as far as I am concerned. It’s a nice start, don’t get me wrong… but that’s about it.
So if you’re significantly overweight as described, and you go on one of these stupid VLCD programs or even less… you can (and probably will) drop a heap of weight just from reduced fluid retention. Now, that’s not a bad thing but we want more than just to drop some water weight. In the meantime though… you guys know this stuff already by now, when you are not adequately fuelled, there is a hormonal response that actually encourages the storage and retention of body fat.
So after that initial “but it’s working” period… BANG, you’re stuck – you stop losing weight. You can’t possibly eat any less, or exercise any more than you already are… so what are your options now? Usually, people decide “well this is as small as I am able to get” despite still being significantly over weight. At this point you’re screwed either way. Go back to your old eating habits and you will regain the weight, continue with your current eating habits and you will further damage your metabolism through hormonal imbalance, thyroid damage and adrenal stress.
I cannot stress this enough; it is absolutely crucial to follow a healthy weight loss plan and eat an appropriate amount. Food is awesome and (captain obvious checking in) you need it to live. This website is for people who want to successfully achieve their dream body, and be healthy and happy. None of those things can happen without appropriate nutrition.
Remember: it’s not about doing as much activity as possible on as little fuel as possible. It is about learning your requirements and then enjoying as much delicious food as possible while progressing towards your goal.