How Much Petrol do you Have in the Tank?
Posted on 9th November 2015 at 12:49
6 Reasons you are struggling to lose fat – Reason 2: You aren’t eating enough
If I had a Pound every time I reviewed a client’s food diary on our first meeting and found that they were eating less than 1,000 calories per day, I would be on a sun-drenched beach somewhere, not sat in Café Nero writing this article…… Does this shock you?? It probably will. No, not the fact that I’m in Café Nero, but that 99% of the overweight and/or out of shape people I see are actually UNDER-EATING?? If you believe the main stream media, and what your doctor has been telling you (the same doctor who is over weight and isn’t trained nutrition), you’ve probably already been brain washed into thinking we are overweight as a species simply because we are eating too much, and that to lose fat and get in shape we need to eat less. However this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Now, I’m not talking about people who are stepping on stage to compete, these guys clearly need to eat less at SOME point in their preparation. But for the man, or woman, in the street who just wants to be ‘in shape’, this model is all wrong. The reality is that we are getting more out of shape as a species because we are being told to eat less, so we are. Before we go any further, here’s a little test for you. If you’re really serious about finding out if this is where you are going wrong, just spare me 5 minutes of your time while you try it. Firstly, I want you to click this link and fill in your details to calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This figure is the number of calories you need to literally lie in bed and do NOTHING! Next, go onto ‘myfitness pal’ and enter everything you’ve eaten yesterday or today, and see where you come out at. Please bear in mind that ‘myfitness pal’ isn’t 100% accurate, but since I’m not sat next to you reviewing your plan this will have to do. Soooooooo how did you do? Is your number above or below your BMR?? Chances are that it’s below.
Here is a nice little analogy that I like to use; if you are going to take your car on a 150 mile journey (your BMR) and you have no fuel in the tank (calories), why would you deliberately only fill it up enough to travel 75 miles?? Or, alternatively, why would you fill it up fully, and then fill up 15 jerry cans ‘just in case’ and then wonder why you have no money. Well, that’s essentially what you are doing with your food. How many times have you wanted to get in shape and instantly increased your exercise (cardio) and dropped your calories dramatically? So think about when you constantly over-rev your car, you find yourself pulling up at every petrol station to fill up because you’ve drained all your fuel. The same thing goes for when you are exercising, you need to up your calories because more energy has been expended. But it’s no good putting petrol into a diesel car, so the calories you are consuming need to be from high-quality nutrition dense foods to complement the exercise. Remember that, just like petrol, food (calories) are just potential energy, they are the things you put in your body (engine) and then the magic happens. So, if you currently exceed your BMR, then it may be time to look at both the quality and type of food you are eating since something as simple as changing what you are eating to a cleaner better quality version, will have a huge impact on your body composition. For example, eating high quality protein with each meal, including good quality fats with each meal (except the meals you have carbs), limiting your carb intake to around training, and ensuring that colourful veg fills ¾ of your plate will have the greatest impact. (This will be covered in greater detail in a future article)
For those of you failing to reach your BMR, please, please, please don’t start going crazy and eating like you are a grizzly bear preparing for hibernation. The key is to SLOWLY start increasing your calories week on week and to assess the effect it has on your body composition by taking selfies once a week at the same time and in the same light. You will notice that you may pass beyond your BMR before you start to see your progress slow. When this does finally happen and you notice your progress has stalled, please DON’T PANIC!! Simply lower your calories back down to the calories you had the week before and this is will be your baseline. It’s important that if you have been below your BMR for a while to stay at your baseline to start with as it will help up-regulate vital processes in your body and keep your metabolism firing! When you are increasing your calories, make sure you use the same key points I mentioned for the people with high starting calories. This means eating high quality protein with each meal, including good quality fats with each meal (except the meals you have carbs), limiting your carbs to after you have finished training, and making sure your plate is ¾ full of colourful veg. Follow these little gems and I promise you will be very surprised with the results. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss the 3rd installment of this 6 part series.
‘You are not fat.
You have fat.
You also have fingernails
but you are not a fingernail’
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