You want to lose weight, so you decide to eat fewer calories in your diet. Maybe you choose to count your calories or use a food scale to weigh each portion of your meals. This can be a healthy approach to dieting, but only if done correctly.
Many of us become frustrated when we don’t see immediate results, so we begin to restrict even more, or burn way more calories than consumed. We might start to obsess over every calorie eaten, tying it into shame and guilt, which just isn’t healthy. Here’s why:
Severe caloric restriction activates the body’s fasting state, diminishing muscle, and slowing down your metabolism. The body will even produce more fat storing enzymes.
Side effects of not eating enough calories:
Unhealthy weight loss, eating disorders
Dieticians recommend consuming a minimum of 1,200 calories each day. Eating less is harmful to your body. So how many calories do you need to consume in order to maintain health and still lose weight?
A good place to start is by calculating your basal metabolic rate, or BMR. This determines the minimum number of calories your body needs to survive. Calculate yours here: http://www.calculator.net/bmr-calculator.html
Next you need to calculate your total energy expenditure, or TEE. This determines how many extra calories you use depending on your activity level. Calculate your TEE here: http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html
Keep in mind the calculators don’t account for muscle mass and muscles burn more calories than fat.
Here are some tips for losing weight while still nourishing your body:
Focus on healthy, whole foods. Cut out artificial sweeteners, added sugar, and preservative-laden foods.
Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day to rev up your metabolism and keep your body fueled.
Drink plenty of water. Aim for about nine cups of fluid each day.
Incorporate strength training into your exercise routine. Remember, more muscle = more fat burning.
Try to shift your thinking away from food restriction and instead adequately fuel your body with healthy choices. If you nourish your body it will thank you by changing — and those changes will be sustained longer.