If you’re not losing weight after cutting calories the problem could either be in your estimated calorie total or the content of your current diet menu.
Miscalculating Needed Calories
Yes, you’re restricting calories but is it possible for you to still be in a calorie surplus even with fewer daily calories? Absolutely. And for most this is mind blowing.
How can you eat less than you were, say last week, and not lose weight?
A common scenario is to reduce your calories enough to notice your plate and belly are less happy, but you haven’t reduced enough to lose weight. While completely slashing your calories to the bone is never recommended it’s always important to keep a scientific view when it comes to weight loss.
To lose just one pound of body weight per week you would need to reduce your daily calorie intake by 500 calories. That’s 500 calories each and every day, for the entire week.
You may be on a well planned diet, but if you’ve only reduced your calorie total by 200-300 it will likely take two full weeks to notice a one pound loss of body weight.
Eating The Wrong Food
It may not seem fair, but it’s possible to restrict the right amount of calories to influence weight loss but still not lose weight because you’re eating the wrong kinds of food. Even though the “calories in, calories out” mantra has been preached for decades it’s not entirely accurate.
Eating 200 calories from a slice of cake, and 200 calories from something like almonds does not have the same effect on weight management. Yes, their calorie total is identical but certain carbs increase fat storage compared to other foods.
The refined sugar found in sweets, like cake, are digested much faster than almonds. This creates a chain reaction in the digestive process that elevates your insulin levels, increases your fat storage, and reduces your ability to feel full.
Almonds, on the other hand, do not digest quickly, have no effect on insulin and the fiber in almonds actually contributes to your feeling full after eating.
Switching to a diet with less refined sugar, more fiber, and more protein and vegetables will help speed up weight loss while restricting calories.
Your Metabolism Isn’t Co-operating
With everything you do your body is designed to adapt and adjust. While you’re on a diet, you may want your body to adjust by burning calories and losing body fat but your diet may be signaling it to do something else.
In the initial stages of a new diet, your body will readily burn through excess body fat to compensate for any calorie restriction. But as the weeks and months pass, your body will become more reluctant to continue the established pace.
Why? Because your brain doesn’t want you to die, and it interprets extreme calorie restriction over extended periods of time as a threat to survival.
Your body doesn’t know that you’ll start eating more when you like what you’re seeing in the mirror. All it knows is you’re not eating enough, and on the current pace of calorie restriction you would soon need to start breaking down muscle tissue.
That isn’t what it wants. If you won’t eat more, and you’re running out of body fat to break down your body utilizes it’s ability to change how much energy you burn. Through the use of your metabolism, and hormones your body will slow your calorie burning to a standstill.
When you reach this point in a diet, it becomes very hard to continue burning body fat because your body is fighting your progress. You’re more likely to lose muscle mass, while still retaining a layer of fat you’re desperately trying to lose.
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