Dieting. So many people do it. And it tends to work, at least in the short-term, but for long-term weight loss and maintenance, there’s one thing that so many people forget. There is such a thing as eating too little. There’s a little equation. Calories Eaten – Calories Used = Weight Loss/Gain/Maintenance. If you eat more calories than you use, you gain weight. If they break even, you stay the same. If you eat few calories than you use, you lose weight. But the problem is that people focus only on the first half of that equation.
Yes, how many calories you eat is easy for you to control. That’s how diets operate. “Eat less!” they scream. But that only works for so long. In my PCOS groups, I’ve seen the same complaint over and over. “I’m hardly eating anything and I just can’t lose weight.” Because these are women who have PCOS, which makes weight loss difficult, I start to feel for them. I empathize. But then I wonder, maybe they aren’t losing weight because they’re eating too little. If you aren’t taking in enough calories, your body starts to worry. And when it worries, it stores what it can in the form of extra fat. You eliminate less and your body keeps more because it worries that it won’t be able to continue to function. In this case, eating more could create weight loss. I gained several pounds early in my pregnancy, but as soon as I realized I was pregnant and began eating more, I lost weight again. Why? Because my body needed more than I was giving it, and it was willing to store everything up until I gave it to it.
So if you can’t just keep eating less and less, how do you lose weight? By thinking about the other half of the equation. So many diet programs want to tell you how you can lose weight without exercising. But that just isn’t true. When you’ve hit the bottom of what your body needs, the only option is to increase how many calories your body uses. And this isn’t about exercising until you drop. Not everyone has a Biggest Loser kind of workout regimen in them. But if you don’t go for walks, start. Ride a bike, go for a run, start a garden. Do anything that requires more movement than you’ve been doing. That’s it. Nothing huge and big and you don’t have to starve yourself. In fact, starving yourself is a really bad idea.