My biggest struggle when working with helping people improve their fitness and health is their staunch, white-knuckle grip on severe calorie cutting. Every person thinks that in order to lose weight, they must severely cut their calories. This has been debunked by research and they have to stop doing this! Here is the science in a nutshell that explains why this technique of severe calorie cutting is more damaging to your health and weight goals than helpful.
When we severely calorie cut our bodies react in a way to best preserve energy. This means, the metabolism slows down, less fat is burned and energy is diverted away from non-essential areas. Your baseline "minimum calories to operate" is set to the "new norm". It takes the body up to 2-4 weeks to make this adjustment, that is why you will initially see some weight loss up front, but it will peter out. Then, you are faced with the inevitable question. Should I cut calories again? Most do. Then the same process starts again. This time more systems are shut down, the metabolic rates slows even more, etc. What will happen is that eventually, the person cutting their calories will be so miserable, sick and lethargic (and not to mention hungry all the time) that they will eventually adjust their calories back up. Then guess what? Your "new normal" calorie baseline is still set to that low level. So guess what happens to all those calories coming back in above that new normal. You guessed it, stored as fat. Your body adjusted to operating at that low-calorie level. So anything above that is considered the energy that can be used later and stored as fat. You just shot yourself in the foot.
My next pet peeve that people do is what I like to call "social hour" as their workout. I get it. You like your trainer a lot. You like meeting your bestie at the gym. Or you like making phone calls while walking. Problem is, you spend more time working out only one part of your body, your gibber jabbering mouth, that you are not actually getting much of a workout! When I used to work as a trainer in a traditional gym, I would just shake my head watching trainers stand and talk to their clients while the client just literally sat on a piece of equipment and did about 10 reps. Then they would spend the next 10 minutes talking. Then go and sit on another piece of equipment, so 10 reps and talk for another 10 minutes. This drives me batty! Time is the most valuable thing we own. If you are taking the time to "go workout" then...WORK OUT! You can socialize and workout at the same time, it's possible. I have had great conversations with clients while they are huffing and puffing and doing burpees. The point is, if you are not winded enough where it's difficult to talk without taking deep breaths, then you are not actually "working out". We recommend the Fire Team Whiskey fitness protocols which require no commute to a gym, no special equipment and only 30 minutes a day!
Last one and I will get off my soapbox, is alcohol. That is the #1 question I get when working with clients. "Can I still drink on your Program?" The answer is, yes, but probably not in the way you drink. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with people who in one post show the plethora of umbrella-laden sugary drinks (and usually the subsequent carb filled food to go with it) and about 10 posts later complaining about how much weight they have put on. Talk about ZERO self-awareness. Bottom line is, alcohol is processed in the same exact way in your liver as the worst sugar: fructose. So alcohol has all the downsides in the body as eating or drinking straight sugar. When your blood sugar is high, your body releases insulin. Insulin carries that sugar into the cells as energy if there is an overabundance of sugar (which in most cases when consuming carbs and sugar that is the case), it carries those extra molecules and stores them as fat. I consider alcohol the same choice as having a cupcake. Sure, its fine every once in a while as a special treat. But having 2-4 glasses of wine a night with dinner is not a treat. You might as well eat an entire cake. Its the same effect on the body.
Stop sabotaging yourself! Make some gains!
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