Losing weight isn’t easy – if it were easy then everyone would do it right? It’s even harder when you are constantly told starve yourself in order to strip the fat. It’s not sustainable and it’s not good for your health.
Trying to survive on a very low-calorie diet is not healthy for any man or woman, let alone exercising and trying to build some muscle mass on top. You don’t want to restrict your diet to the extent where you’re left with too little calories to fuel your body to work properly; you’ll just end up damaging your metabolism, therefore unable to lose weight, have low moods, fatigued, poor concentrating, bloating, dizziness, poor immune system etc. The key to fat loss is in fact boosting your metabolism, and this can be done in two main ways: increasing your muscle mass and increasing your nutrition intake.
Increase your muscle mass:
This is the most effective way to increase your body’s metabolism – the best thing about weight training is that you even burn calories for 8-10 hours AFTER your session. It is estimated that every pound of muscle burns roughly six calories per day at rest, that’s about three times as many calories as a pound of fat, which burns roughly two calories per day. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat and muscle uses up energy even when you aren’t exercising, therefore burning more calories than fat. Lifting weights, eating protein and enough carbohydrates will contribute to an increase of lean muscle mass and faster metabolism.
Increase your nutrition Intake:
Gradually increasing your macros (carbs, protein and fat) will increase your metabolism as your body gets used to a larger amount of food. You need to do this steadily, if you are on little calories (1200-1500) you don’t want to be rushing this process as you’ll feel bloated and sick if you do it too quickly. Doing this will ensure you slowly build up your metabolism and lean muscle mass without fat.
You will know if you aren’t eating enough because you’ll show symptoms, for example, dizziness, tiredness, bloating or tummy troubles, mood changes, always falling ill, poor performance, struggling to build muscle, poor sleep, you’re getting injured, or you are missing or having irregular menstrual cycles. Once you have a few of these symptoms you can be fairly sure you aren’t eating enough or not eating enough of the right food. Firstly, the calories you consume should never go below your basal metabolic rate (the calories your body burns at rest), this is different for everyone depending on age, weight, gender, activity levels etc. This can be worked out online or you can message me directly and I can support you with this. If the number of calories you are burning is too much in comparison to calories being consumed, then you risk losing muscle tissue and slowing down your metabolism.
If you’ve been eating too little and exercising a lot and not losing weight, then it’s a sign your efforts are not working, and something needs to change. This isn’t bad news, the likelihood of this impacting your metabolism long term isn’t high – the solution is just that you need to gradually add more calories into your diet, protein, carbs and fats. If you have been on a strict diet for years and years, I would recommend increasing by 100 calories to begin with for a couple of weeks, then another 100 and so on – do not jump 700-1000 calories over night you’re body will struggle with the immediate change. You can workout how many calories you should be having through a Macro Calculator online.
If you struggle to add additional calories to your day, then here are some tips on how to get more into your diet.
Avoid skipping meals.
Eat enough protein AND carbohydrates throughout the day.
Eat plenty of whole fruits, vegetables, and grains.
Refuel and rehydrate properly after hard training sessions.
Limit sweetened beverages, like sports drinks and swap for nutritious snacks.
It can seem scary to eat more because we’ve always been told to eat less to lose weight, but don’t panic, not only will your metabolism increase and support your weight loss journey, but your body will actually transform, become more toned and feel stronger in the long run.