(1 minute read)
A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the truth behind the damaged metabolism. “Does Your Metabolism “Crash” and Can Eating Too Little Actually Damage Your Metabolism?”
The answer was:
No, crash dieting won't damage your metabolism, however, the adaptations your body undergoes in repose to fat loss will mean you will use and burn less energy (calories) than before you lost the weight or burn less than someone who was always lean. The change can be between 5-15% fewer calories burned per day.
So the question is how do you still achieve weight loss when your body has made these adaptations, preventing you from burning as much energy (calories) when eating less energy (calories), basically hitting a plateau?
1. Eat plenty of protein: Protein is essential when trying to lose weight or fat;
It helps you keep or boost your lean muscle mass (connective tissue and organs as well as bone and muscle).
Protein helps you to feel fuller for longer despite eating less.
Just by eating more protein you burn more calories, this is because protein is more difficult for the body to digest and absorb, so your body has to work harder burning more calories with the act of digestion and absorption.
Aim for 6-8 (men) 4-6 (women) palm size servings of protein per day.
2. Eat a verity of fruits, vegetables, whole grain carbs and healthy fats.
Vegetables are loaded with fibre and vitamins and minerals, they will fill you up and are harder to digest so you will actually absorb fewer calories and burn more while digesting them.
Aim for 4-8 fist size portions per day.
3. Adjust your food intake as you plateau to prevent plateaus a plateau in fat loss.
Keep consistent- this will be your best method of success.
Adjust portion sizes; as you lose weight you will have to eat less to continue progress, these are due to the body adaptations outlined in the previous article; “Does Your Metabolism “Crash” and Can Eating Too Little Actually Damage Your Metabolism?” .
4. Cycling calories or carbohydrates; by doing this you are able to limit how much your leptin (metabolism-regulating hormone) drops, and boost it back up.
Calorie and carbohydrate cycling is: Having days when you have higher calories and carbohydrates - at your maintenance (to maintain weight). Then followed by days where your calorie intake us under your maintenance (for weight loss). Aim for 5 days under maintenance with 2 days in maintenance.
5. Do a mixture of resistance and cardio.
Resistance training helps to build and maintain vital muscle mass and burn calories. An increase in muscle mass will help boost your daily calorie expenditure as muscle is more metabolically active than fat.
6. Increase your NEAT (non-exercise thermogenesis). This is the calories you burn though moving, staying upright, fidgeting and doing little things that may not increase your heart rate much but do make a difference.
Get up from your desk every hour, get a standing desk, move when you are on the phone, park your car further away.
7. Get a good nights sleep and manage your stress.
Lack of sleep contributes to stress which increases your cortisol levels (stress hormone) this makes it harder to lose fat; when your body thinks it is in a stressful situation (raised cortisol levels) it will hold onto reserves, through natural instinct.
Again if you haven’t read my previous post on “Does Your Metabolism “Crash” and Can Eating Too Little Actually Damage Your Metabolism?” Then give it a read here.
BSc Sports Science, Women’s Fitness Specialist and Personal Trainer