Why Eating Less Does Not Accelerate Fat Loss?
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It seems pretty obvious that if you eat less food then your body will burn fat and you will lose weight more rapidly.
But is that actually true?
Amazingly, it could actually be one of the biggest diet myths. So many people are putting themselves on a strict calorie controlled diets for months, sometimes years, and struggling to lose weight, and it could be because they are doing the opposite of what they should be.
So why is that happening?
What I’m going to do here is bust a big diet myth by telling you the truth about eating less, taking in small meals, speeding up and slowing down your metabolism, and what you really need to do to lose weight more quickly.
This is especially important if you’re trying to change your body. As a bodybuilder, cutting is crucial to showing off your gains, but what I’ve learned is that eating less just doesn’t cut it, if you’ll excuse the pun.
What Happens When You Eat Less Food To Lose Weight?
The less food you eat, the more you send signals to your body that there is a food deficit around. Think about the past, think about Stone Age times, and how your body had to react to a lack of food sometimes seasonally.
How do you think it would react to the knowledge there was a potential calorie deficit coming? To keep burning body fat?
No, it actually does the opposite. It starts to hold onto body fat because it might need it further down the line.
What your body actually starts to burn is muscle. The reason it burns muscle tissue more readily than fat when it thinks it’s heading into starvation mode is that muscle tissue burns more energy than fat tissue.
So it keeps the fat back as a last resort for when you’re desperate, and starts to burn the fat tissue as well, down to a minimum level to operate the body before it then has to start hitting the fat resources
Eating Less Can Actually Increase Your Body Fat
That makes sense doesn’t it, which makes it more amazing most people don’t think about it.
Put together, it means that if you start putting yourself on a strict calorie controlled diet then your actual weight loss slows down, and your muscle wastage goes up.
You can offset this if your bodybuilding by using SARMs like Ostarine. That helps to maintain muscle mass in a calorie deficit by sending signals your body to burn body fat more readily. But it doesn’t completely solve the problem if you are being aggressive with it.
Worse than that, it starts to affect your metabolism. The longer it goes on, the more your metabolism slows down, and changes.
The net result of a slower metabolism is that eating less becomes normal. So when you eat larger amounts your body sees it as overeating rather than normal, thinks there’s a return to the boom times, perhaps a change to the season of summer in ancient times, and starts to store is body fat more readily.
So the less you eat, the more muscle you waste, and the less fat you burn. If at any stage you start to eat more, then the body fat piles on even more readily.
The net result for anyone, especially if your bodybuilding in trying to lose that tummy fat to show off your hard work, is it’s just not going to happen.
It’s also the reason why eating disorders can be so troublesome. Somebody starves themselves, and eventually, the body fat burns after any non-essential muscle tissue. At some stage they weaken, and they start eating slightly more calories, and the body responds by immediately storing it all is body fat, leading to a visual increase in body fat which makes them panic and try and lose more weight by fasting even more aggressively. It’s a vicious cycle.
Studies Confirm The Fact That Eating Less Does Not Accelerate Fat Loss
There are literally hundreds of studies in humans and animals show what I’ve just said, but basically just taking in fewer calories doesn’t mean you shed fat.
As a 1996 study (De Castro) showed even when humans think they are eating a regulated diet, they rarely are. This leads to daily fluctuations in calorie intake, energy expenditure, and metabolism changes.
Basically, it means the body doesn’t react as readily as we think because of these fluctuations. There’s a buffer zone, which is why it works with fat and muscle tissue burning to maintain the equilibrium as best it can.
The problem is that people try and lose weight too quickly. The average man needs up to 2500 Cal per day just to maintain the weight they are at if they have a healthy lifestyle.
If you suddenly chop that back to 1400 Cal per day, your body panics, and starts holding on to fat, sugar, and any other resources it can while burning excess muscle tissue instead.
Multiple studies confirm that a key is obviously to have a calorie deficit after exercise each day to lose weight, but you have to step down over weeks to allow your mind and metabolic rate to alter gradually, and then you have to step back up again over time to allow it to rise again.
Eating Less Food Can Increase Fat Gain Dramatically
Another problem with trying to eat less to lose weight is that it can actually make you gain fat as soon as you start eating again as I’ve explained, but worse, in the long run, it can increase your chances of piling it all back on, and then some.
The problem is that the body sets its own metabolic rate. It doesn’t matter if your doctor says you should weigh 100 lbs., your body responds with warning signals when it reaches what it believes it is the start of starvation mode.
It induces us to think more about food, to seek it out. It sends more hunger signals; it basically starts poking us with a big stick to say “eat” to try and get you back to “normal”.
But what’s normal to the body is what it previously knew, so in an obese person whose metabolism was slow, and body fat was plentiful because of calories, the neurological programming has been changed to look at that is normal.
So the more weight you lose the more the panic kicks in, and the more the body starts to try and maintain what it had. The net result, you hold onto that fat, and as soon as the body can trying return to equilibrium with increased calorie intake, it starts to store fat as it did before.
This phenomenon is completely natural and has been borne out by multiple studies over the years.
What You Need To Do To Accelerate Fat Loss
So what we have here are some crucial learning points which can help you to more readily burn fat and not only maintain but gain muscle at the same time:
- When you are cutting calories do it gradually over several weeks, so that your body doesn’t panic and go into starvation mode. This way you program a new body equilibrium.
- Once you’ve cut the fat, gradually step your calories up over several weeks so that your metabolism slowly increases and doesn’t tell you to overeat because it wants to reach the previously programmed equilibrium.
- The more you exercise, the less weight you will lose. That’s because your body starts to panic at the energy expenditure with a calorie deficit, and on days you don’t exercise it actively tries to retain calories and burns less. It’s basically trying to prepare itself for the next calorie-burning onslaught.
So the message has to be slow and steady. Step your calories down while you maintain your current exercise routine.
When you reach your goal, step your calories up, and as you reach your new calorie intake, then start moving your exercise up another level as well. There is another way around this though, that’s to smartly use supplements to help manage these processes.
I mentioned SARMs earlier. If you use SARMs, they can help to protect muscle mass even in a calorie deficit. That helps to offset some of the body’s response. It also allows you to do that step-down and then step up more easily.
Other SARMs help to aggressively build muscle tissue. That directs the energy you are putting in your body towards building muscle tissue more readily than storing it as fat. That helps to offset the body’s natural response as well.
If you don’t fancy SARMs, which can be aggressively anabolic, then the natural bodybuilding supplements from CrazyBulk are a good natural alternative.
These natural steroid alternatives are completely safe and herbal but mimic the actions of SARMs and steroids. They are not as potent, but they are a great alternative if you want to tone things down.
They contain ingredients that help to cut fat by telling the body to burn it more readily while protecting muscle mass. Or, you can get natural supplements that help to get the bodybuilding more muscle mass using the calorie intake it has, rather than panicking and storing it as fat.