Nothing is more crushing than working your butt off to drop the weight, only to watch the numbers on the scale creep back up to where you started. But you don’t have to fall victim to the weight-loss weight-gain roller coaster. With a little knowledge and few tweaks to your diet and lifestyle you can lose weight once and be done with it.
You may not realize it, but in many cases you may be self-sabotaging your own weight loss success. Your metabolism is the system responsible for determining how many calories you burn a day. Many people blame their inability to lose weight on their metabolism. And guess what? They may be right. Unfortunately you may be partly to blame for that. The silly things you do to lose weight fast, may be slowing down your metabolism.
Not Eating Enough
The first thing most people do to lose unwanted pounds is cut way, way back on calories. Here’s the thing, your metabolism needs those calories to continue to burn at its best. When you cut too low, less than 1,200 calories for women and 1,500 calories for men, your metabolism slows down. This is because your body thinks it’s starving, so it slows everything down to try and preserve life-sustaining functions. This super slow down not only affects your metabolism, but also energy, concentration, skin, digestion and sex drive.
You know what else happens when you eat too few calories? Your body burns muscle to help make up the caloric difference. Muscle mass contributes to your calorie-burning metabolism. Less muscle means an even lower metabolism. Sure, it’s true when your aim is to lose weight you’re going to lose some muscle. But when you cut back too much too fast and your body is in self-preservation mode, it’s easier to turn protein into energy then fat.
What’s the lesson here? Don’t eat too little. With a little mathematical equation called the basal metabolic rate you can determine your personal calorie squeal point. Your BMR is the number of calories your body needs to sustain those life-preserving functions, like the beating of your heart and breathing. Because of body composition, the equation is different for men and women.
BMR for women: 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)
BMR for men: 66 + (6.2 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)
When you calculate your BMR you may think that’s way too much. I’ll never lose weight eating that much. But that’s where you’ve gone wrong all this time. If you’re not at least eating the minimum number of calories your body needs to simply breath, you’re not eating enough. And these are just your base calorie needs, this doesn’t factor in activity. Not eating enough to support your daily comings and goings may also lead to a slowdown in your metabolism.
Sedentary (no exercise, desk work): 1.2
Light activity (exercise 1-3 days a week): 1.375
Moderate activity (exercise 3-5 days a week): 1.55
Very active (hard exercise 6-7 days a week): 1.725
Extra active (heavy labor, sports training): 1.9
Daily calorie needs = BMR x activity factors
For example, a 35-year old 5’6” tall women who weighs a 150 pounds and exercises 3 days a week needs 1,998 calories a day to maintain her weight. To lose ½ to 1 pound a week, she’d need to reduce her daily intake by 250 to 500 calories. For the record, you don’t want to lose more than 2 pounds a week, otherwise you risk greater muscle loss than fat loss.
Skipping the Carbs or the Proteins or the Fats
No doubt, you know someone who’s convinced that carbs are the reason they can’t lose the weight. But it’s not carbs, it’s not fat and it sure isn’t the protein that’s making it so hard to drop excess pounds. It’s too many calories from one or all of these macros. While it’s true people can lose weight cutting out carbs or limiting fat, these types of weight loss diets are very difficult to stick with long term, and usually result in weight regain. Eating the right balance of macros is essential for keeping your metabolism running at its best. Macrostax generally recommends 40-50%C, 25-35%P, 25-30%F. See, if you don’t get enough carbs or fat your body uses protein for energy, which affects your ability to build and retain muscle and, as a consequence, affects your metabolism.
Getting enough protein is not only important for preserving and building muscle, but researchers are learning that protein digestion and metabolism may also give a boost to your metabolic rate.
Working Out for Hours
Unless you’re training for a marathon or bulking up for a bodybuilding competition, there’s no need to spend 90 minutes on the treadmill. Overexercising triggers your body to breakdown muscle and store fat. Plus, spending too much time working out the same muscle groups may lead to fatigue or injury and put a kibosh on your whole exercise routine.
Instead, aim for 30 minutes of high-intensity interval training 3 to 5 times a week. HIIT not only burns more calories while you’re working out, but also gives you a metabolic bump for up to 3 hours after you’re done. And, if you haven’t figured it out yet, muscle is very important to your metabolic rate. So pick up those weights or add body resistance training to your workout routine to keep your metabolism running in high-gear.