Why eating less DOES NOT cause weight loss
One of the biggest weight loss myths that couldn’t be further from the truth is weight loss through eating less or skipping meals. It has been thought for many years that by drastically restricting your food intake you’ll shed pounds quickly. While this may be “true” to some extent (in reference to the number on the scale), it is life-threatening & like trying to use a band-aid to support & heal a broken leg.
By skipping meals, especially breakfast, your metabolism tanks. Why? This is because not eating pushes your body into starvation mode, causing your body to cling onto everything in what little food you do decide to eat, storing it as fat for later. So why the decrease in weight on the scale?
First, it’s important to understand that the body needs a certain amount of calories just to perform basic functions, such as your heart beating, breathing, digesting food, walking, blinking your eyes, talking, etc. While sleeping, the number of calories your body needs to survive is known as your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). While awake (without any additional physical activity), it’s known as your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
So in a nutshell, before you start thinking about ANY physical activity (yes, walking around the grocery store shopping for food is an activity), you should know how many calories it takes for your body to sustain life. When you don’t eat enough, your body starts pulling stored energy from anywhere in your body it can, including muscle tissue (hence the “weight loss”). Over time, this becomes extremely dangerous and will effect your thought process, cause mood swings and depression, panic attacks, obsessions and compulsions, lack of concentration, irrational thinking, strong cravings (especially foods high in sugar and fat), irregular heart beat, potential heart attack, high risk of bone fracture & osteoporosis, trouble sleeping, slowed digestion, and more. Not eating requires that the body slows down so that it can survive.
SO, how do you figure out what your BMR is?
- For women, use the following formula: BMR = 10 x Weight (kg) + 6.25 x Height (cm) – 5 x Age (years) – 161
- For men, use the following formula: BMR = 10 x Weight (kg) + 6.25 x Height (cm) – 5 x age (years) + 5
Keep in mind that when you add activities to your day, you will need even more calories to perform those functions. Always be sure you are eating enough! A great (free) tool that I use often to see how many calories (and what nutrition) I’m consuming is myfitnesspal.com. They even have an app for your smart phone or tablet. Remember, knowledge is power, so educate yourself. 🙂
Happy Eating ;-),
Owner & founder of Studio MB