EAT MORE TO GET LEAN!
Everyone knows that eating too much food (too many calories) relative to your activity level will make you get fat, but did you know that not eating ENOUGH food will also make you fat?
This seems counter-intuitive because to the average Joe on the street it makes sense that the less you eat, the less you will weigh. To understand why this happens, you have to understand one simple bit of information: The human “machine” is based on very old technology, and is wired to respond to situations based on that old technology.
What I mean by this is that your brain, and consequently your body, will respond to different stresses now the same way that it did back when people were just learning to walk upright. What does that have to do with anything? I’m getting there: Your metabolism is (simply stated) what determines how much fuel your body is going to burn in a day. A “higher” or “faster” metabolism is going to burn more calories in a day, a “slower” metabolism will burn less calories in a day. We’re not going to get all technical here – this is just the basics! Your metabolism is not “set” – it changes based on different circumstances that you are experiencing, this is all part of that “old technology” I mentioned earlier.
When you cut your calories too much – lets say follow one of those ridiculous 500 calorie a day diets – your body interprets this as: “HOLY CRAP WE’RE GOING TO STARVE! THERE IS A FOOD SHORTAGE!” and it works hard to conserve your energy reserves. What does that mean? It means your body stops allowing you do burn off bodyfat and attempts to store MORE bodyfat to help you survive the upcoming famine. The primitive part of your brain doesn’t understand that you just got some bad advice and still have food around the house. Many times people that go on these starvation type diets DO lose “weight” but their bodyfat levels generally remain the same while they lose muscle mass.
If you want to lose BODYFAT instead of just WEIGHT, the key is to make your body believe there is a surplus of food available, without consuming enough calories to add more bodyfat. Doing this will cause your body to allow you to burn off your stored energy (read that as: BODY FAT) and allow you to maintain lean body mass in the process. How does one do this? The best way is to first determine the approximate number of calories you will need per day – there are many ways to do this, and that is a bit beyond the scope of this “tip”. You then take that number – lets say it is 2,400 calories a day just for simplicity – and you divide it out over 6 meals equally spaced out through the day (approximately 3 hours apart). This gives us 6 meals that are approximately 400 calories each. Naturally you would want to keep the content of your meals to things like lean meats, healthy complex carbs, and healthy fats. Your body will see that it is being fed right about the time it starts needing more fuel, and it will let that bodyfat go.