Quick and Easy
30 lbs in 30 days, this infomercial guarantees it!!!
Do you remember watching those infomercials that came on during late night TV when you did not know why you were still up at the crack of dawn? The ones that claimed this new pill will change your diet forever and make you better faster and stronger in all other aspects of your life? However, this was only a limited time offer of $21.99 for 12 easy monthly payments?!
So good that it is sometimes too good to be true. If I paid this I will get the thing that will get me to where I want to be faster than the other guy. Where do I swipe my credit card?!
However, if we take this mentality of a sprint vs a marathon, weight loss will surely plateau almost immediately. Because we as human beings have a fail safe encoded in our bodies that prevent us from starving. Call it our body’s survival mechanism that protects us from, well, death.
What happens when we first lose weight?
When we start a diet the typical thing that occurs is placing ourselves into a caloric deficit. So the energy we need is not enough to sustain activity so the body goes for other stores that we have kept. First thing to go being Glycogen stores. A form of carbohydrates that are stored within the liver and muscles. And what is interesting is that those stores are intageled with water molecules so when you go through those stores you also lose, “water weight”.
And so when all our glycogen stores are gone then our body begins to utilize energy from stores around the body. Namely body fat and muscles.
Well what if I just train a boat load and I’ll burn everything right?
Exercise and physical activity is a great way to burn excess calories, however, if we are not eating enough our bodies will make exercise less appealing. One of our bodies natural responses to save those calories is placing you in a state of fatigue or weakness and sluggishness. This will then encourage rest and the conservation of energy.
So now that the body is not spending as much energy anymore, what happens now? Well in losing weight it is technically a numbers game, and if the energy we intake is less than the energy we output, we will lose weight. But as we burn less and less calories, the difference between energy in and out will narrow and another plateau will occur.
So if my body is fighting me this much, what the heck do I do?
Play the long game. Health and fitness should be thought of throughout our lifetime and not just a quick snapshot of our life. If we begin with too large of a caloric deficit, our bodies natural starvation response will fight back immediately. Finding a simple way can be limiting the amount of food on your plate with something as simple as instead of 1 cup of rice for lunch and dinner I will have ¾ a cup instead. This way it is not a drastic change and yet you are still in that deficit without hitting that starvation mode.
This will then lead into being more mindful of what you are eating. By taking a look at what you are intaking as well as how much you are intaking you can help yourself have that steady weight loss occur. You will then get a better idea of what your hunger signals are and what you truly need to be able to function during daily activities.
The infomercials that we were watching can definitely tell us that we can lose that huge amount of weight. However, they do not usually tell you that you can yo yo right back due to your own bodies survival mechanisms. So, be mindful of what your body needs and be consistent over time. It is the key to growth as well as the key to becoming the best version of yourself possible.