Flash back to seven years ago….
“Chloe, you need to be eating more to keep up with your training load”
“Nah you don’t know my body, it doesn’t need that much food”
….turns out what I should have said was
“You don’t know how messed up my metabolism is. I’ve slowed it down so much that my body thinks a carrot stick has the energy of a candy cane and is going to slow down the digestion of it to the same effect. “
*THIS IS NOT HEALTHY*
Although we now live in a very modernized world, the human body has not adapted too far past the cave man period. A time where we would go into caves and hibernate for the winter, and emerge in the summer ready to begin out hunting and gathering again. When we go into that cave, and the body realizes that the food is not in steady supply for a while now, it adapts. It slows the digestion and the release of the energy from food dramatically to sustain the winter to come. We are not sure when the weather is going to be good to come back out again so we have to slow down and use what we’ve got.
We are still those cave men. The difference is, we no longer sleep through the winter. We are no longer operating at our Basal Metabolic Rate (absolutely minimum amount of energy required to just stay alive each day) for 4 months of the year. We are still working, exercising and functioning in society and yet… feeding our bodies like we are sleeping all day.
When a body is functioning with a healthy metabolism a healthy male body that exercises moderately 3 times a week requires 2800-3200cal a day. The same healthy female requires 2200-2500 cal a day. The body uses this intake to walk around and complete daily activities such as work, cook, clean, sleep, shower, interact with people, chase after kids, walk the dog and then we add in exercise to the equation. And the more exercise we add in per day or per week the more calories a healthy body is going to churn through. YOU are not any different. If your body is healthy, you too need this amount of energy to just break even in a day. Chances are if you have not been consuming this amount of energy, your body is not healthy.
But I want to lose weight you say. So I will just consume like 200 cal less then what I am currently consuming. I mean I am already on 1500 cal but I’ll just take it down to 1300 cal. Cool let’s take out more fuel for an engine already running on empty. You will get your quick drop in weight (mainly muscle and water) until your caveman body works out what’s happening and slows down even more. And it will stop any bodily functions it can in the process (say good bye to a properly functioning reproductive system). And you’re going to wonder why
- You’re not losing weigh anymore
- You’ve put ON weight?!?
What do you need to do then? You need to prove to your body there is never going to be a cave ever again. And this means giving it a steady supply of healthy and nutritious food that it can use for all your activities of daily living and any exercise you add on top of that. That is going to be consistent. We call this taking your body back to maintenance phase. This will not happen overnight. Think about how long your body has been in hibernation (starvation) for and the damage you might have done. Let’s compare this to a ligament tear. The environment and the body position itself for injury and as soon as this happens, the actual injury takes half a second. The recovery from this injury then takes 6 weeks. Half a second of injury time – 6 weeks recovery. Two years of reduced caloric intake, 4 years recovery. IT TAKES TIME. So be patient.
I still want to lose weight you say. Yep we hear you – build yourself back into maintain phase where your body can function in a healthy fashion and you can then go into a short term deficit which will allow for a healthy period of weight loss before you go back into a maintenance phase to keep that metabolism healthy and consolidate this new body composition you have achieved. You cannot live in a constant deficit. That will just slow your body right back down again.
So when we say to you, you need to start eating more to fuel your activity levels and you respond with nah my body doesn’t need that much food….could it actually need that much food but you are just ignoring its needs? If you think this could be you get in contact with us [email protected] and we’ll set you on the right path to success and long term health