When Eating Less Doesn't Work For Weight Loss
In our society, we are constantly told that in order to be healthy and maintain a healthy weight, we need to watch our calorie intake. It's no wonder, then, that so many people turn to diets in an attempt to lose weight.
We know that a calorie deficit is key to weight loss, however, why is it that people struggle so much when they slash their calories. This is because there are several common mistakes that people make when it comes to their metabolism that can sabotage their weight loss goals. In this post, we'll take a look at some of the most common mistakes and explore why eating less doesn't always work. Stay tuned for tips on how you can fix these mistakes and finally achieve your desired weight!
Make sure you download your free copy of "Metabolism and Weight Loss Guide" by clicking below. Break free from chronic dieting and excessive calorie restriction with this action plan.
1 - Hunger hormones
When you drop your calories, there are two key hormones that are effected: leptin and ghrelin. Their roles are to regulate appetite, which consequently influences weight loss.
Leptin is released by fat cells and it signals to the brain that enough energy is available and no more needs to be consumed. Ghrelin is produced by the empty stomach and it signals to the brain that it is time to eat. When you reduce your calorie intake, levels of leptin go down, signalling to your brain that it needs more food leading you feeling hungry. We eat more when we are hungry and when we eat more our body weight goes up. At the same time, ghrelin levels go up, also signalling your brain that it needs more food.
One study found that appetite increased by ~100kcal/day above baseline per kilogram of lost weight, more than 3 x times larger than the predicted reduction in energy expenditure change (~25kcal/day) from losing 1kg of weight.
Basically when you lose weight, you burn less calories and you get really hungry!
Help counter this, by dieting on the most amount of calories possible using a small calorie deficit. Also look to include more fibre and protein in your diet to help with satiety. Also include periods where you're not in a calorie deficit to help hormones like leptin and ghrelin return to normal
2 - It increases the likelihood of binging
Cutting calories too low can lead to feelings of deprivation, which can trigger binge eating episodes. Ironically, the process of dieting can actually lead to overeating. One study showed that dieting had the effect of increasing the probability of an individual overeating to offset the effects of caloric deprivation.
When trying to drop weight, it's important to find a balance between eating enough to support your metabolism and reducing calories enough to lose weight. Reducing calories too much can lead to problems like binge eating. Find a healthy middle ground that works for you and stick with it.
3 - Effects your self esteem
One of the main reasons why people fail on a diet is that they set the bar too high . They have an all-or-nothing mentality and when they "slip up" they feel like they have failed. Cutting calories too low only reduces the likelihood of sticking to your plan, leading to a negative spiral of feeling bad about yourself, overeating, and then feeling even worse.
Some research show that failed diets can instigate individuals to have low self-esteem, which can then become the link between dieting and bingeing. Low self-esteem, in the presence of weight-related stressors, may increase instances of binge eating and disordered eating behaviours. Some research hypothesises proposes that higher rates of dieting lead to low self-esteem, which emphasises the importance of integrating education about a positive body image while implementing a healthy lifestyle.
4 - It impacts gut health
For many people, cutting calories is a key part of achieving their weight loss goals. However, it is important to ensure that calorie intake does not drop too low, as this can have a negative impact on gut health. Severe calorie restriction can lead to nutrient deficiencies, as well as gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, bloating and diarrhoea. In fact one study showed how a very low calorie diet altered the gut microbiome and and potential for increased inflammation of the gut wall. Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy balance of calories and nutrients in order to protect gut health.
Now you can still lose weight with poor gut health, however by taking care of yourself will improve energy levels, recovery all playing a secondary role in helping with your weight loss goals.
5 - It can decrease activity
Cutting calories can make you feel tired and irritable, which can lead to a decrease in physical activity and can further contribute to weight gain. Research shows that total daily energy expenditure or the amount of calories you burn during the day is lowered further than would be expected from the drop in weight.
So excessive cutting calories may seem like an effective way to lose weight, it's actually more likely to lead to unhealthy choices and yo-yo dieting.
What next - Want To Work With Box Nutrition?
It’s not always about eating less. In fact, for many people, eating the most amount possible whilst still being in a calorie deficit is the key to sustainable weight loss. At Box Nutrition we focus on teaching our clients how to make healthy choices and enjoy their food whilst still losing weight. If you’re looking for a programme that will help you lose weight without starving yourself, then get in touch today. We're here to help you achieve your goals!