Why Not Eating Enough Can Actually Make You Gain Weight

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I’ve worked with hundreds of clients over the years and can tell you that almost all of them are not eating enough calories when they begin their weight loss journey. How do I know this? Because I make them log their food. And ALL of them rarely hit the amount recommended for them which is usually on the low side, even with the best food logging programs out there such as MyFitnessPal, my personal fav. So let’s take a look at why this is and what we can do about it.

With food logging sites, or if you’re following common advice, we need to eat 500 calories less per day than we burn if we want to lose an average of one pound per week. However, there are a couple of problems with this.

First off, a calorie is not a calorie. If you eat real whole foods, such as an avocado (which is high in calories and fat, by the way) versus a meal devoid of nutritional value such as a Happy Meal, then your body is going to handle it differently. It knows what to do with real foods, but all that other processed crap that makes its way in is a whole other story.

Second, you have to eat more calories based on your BMR (basal metobolic rate) or your body will either go into starvation mode and store every little calorie + slow down your metabolism AND/OR it will break down precious muscle tissue in dire need of calories. Remember that your muscle is your calorie burner and also your metabolism’s best friend so treasure it.

I recommend figuring out what your BMR is (here’s a free online calculator) and this number tells you how many calories you need at rest daily if you were lying on a couch all day doing nothing. If you’re not very active, you can add 150-200 calories to that number to know what your daily calorie requirements are. If you’re active, then add even more based on the intensity of your workouts.

I’m not a huge fan of having client’s count calories; I want them to focus more on eating real, whole foods and notice when they’re full or need more nutrition. When we start to see food as fuel and a healthy way to nourish our bodies, the rest just takes care of itself. But I wanted to share this info with you just in case you’re having a hard time losing weight and need a different perspective.

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