Think You can Starve Your Way to Weight Loss Goals? Think Again!

Posted August 22, 2016 by

Eating for weight loss can be tricky. Everywhere you look, there’s different advice being given. Some articles/authority figures say eat more to lose more, others tell you to go on a juice fast, yet others recommend eating nothing but specialized meal replacements, or to eat low carb/high fat, go Paleo… the list goes on and on.

Frustratingly, every piece of advice seems to directly contradict that which came before it. So who is right?

In this article I’m going to break down one of the main claims–that eating as little as possible (whether in terms of calories, carbohydrates, fats or otherwise) is the best way to lose weight–and I’ll give you a better method that will help you get vastly superior results.

Arguments For and Against Eating Super Low-Calorie

The logic makes sense. If the key to losing weight is to eat less than you burn, wouldn’t the safest and easiest thing to do be to eat as little as possible each day?

After all, you would be guaranteeing you eat less than you burn without having to track anything!

Theoretically, this would definitely cause you to lose weight. If you truly eat fewer calories than you burn on a daily basis, over time you will lose weight. The bigger the difference between the two, the more quickly you will lose weight.

There are two main issues that I have with this approach.

First, while this works theoretically, in practice what happens is after starving yourself all day (or for several days), you get so ravenous that you can’t control yourself and slip knee-deep into a binge, thereby wiping out any deficit you’ve managed to rack up.

Because remember, it’s the cumulative deficit that matters–the results of sticking to a deficit over time consistently–not the short-term deficit from day to day.

So if you’re wiping out your ongoing deficits with regular binges, you’re going to essentially be digging a hole and filling it up again, over and over.

Ok, but Let’s Just Assume I Have Iron Willpower, What Then?

Even if somehow you could combat your survival mechanisms that are in place to prevent you from starving to death, this is still not a good way to lose weight.

See, weight loss isn’t really what we’re after–we’re after fat loss only. “Weight” is a general term and can refer to not only body fat, but also muscle mass, the skeleton, water levels, etc (collectively referred to as “lean mass”). I’m sure we can agree that losing weight in the form of lean mass is a bad choice.

What you have to understand is that there’s a limit to how much body fat you can lose per week, month, etc, without risking the loss of lean mass. Since our goal is to ONLY lose body fat, we must limit our weight loss to the most we can get away with while avoiding loss of lean mass.

This particular amount is specific to the person and depends on a number of factors such as current weight, body composition and genetics, but either way, it should make it clear that eating as little as possible is not ideal.

When you lose lean mass, not only is it bad for your health, it also doesn’t give you the physique you’re going for when the goal is fat loss (which most people refer to as “weight loss”). The goal is a lean physique, not a skinny-fat physique.

A skinny-fat physique is one that looks no more defined than an overfat physique, but also lacks the muscle mass to maintain a healthy look. Bodies end up looking frail, saggy and weak.

How to Approach Nutrition for Fat Loss

With our coaching, we take the opposite approach to the “eat as little as possible” mindset. We have our athletes eat as much as they can while still obtaining weight loss on a weekly/biweekly basis.

This allows them to stay on track easier–because they’re not becoming ravenous–and also enjoy the benefits of a properly-nourished body (better immune system, mood, energy levels, strength, endurance, and so on), while still seeing results.

This results in an enjoyable experience and is the basis for a proper lifestyle change, since you can’t expect to eat “as little as possible” for the rest of your life, can you?

The easiest way by far to organize your diet if you’re starting out with the goal of weight loss, is to divide your foods into protein sources, starchy carbohydrate sources, vegetable/fruit sources and fat sources.

Create meals that have a balance of each group, with approximately 1/4 of the plate containing protein, 1/2 of the plate containing vegetables/fruits, and the remaining area made up of starches and fats.

Aim for a consistent number of meals per day (e.g. 4), and keep your portion sizes consistent at each meal.

This way, you’re naturally limiting your calorie intake through portion control and prioritizing vegetables/protein, which are very filling and help prevent overeating.

If after a couple of weeks of great compliance, you’re not losing weight, simply taper the portion sizes down of the starches/fats area on your plate, and give another couple of weeks to see if you start seeing better results.

It really is that simple!

We provide nutritional coaching along with our fitness programs here at TGTN. Come give our Transformation Training program a try for a whole week! Click Here: Men | Women

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