Believe it or not, a weight-loss program that overly restricts calories will set you up for failure, as will a skipped meal. There is a point at which cutting calories will work against weight loss because consuming too few calories (or too few meals) leads to increased appetite and low satiety as your body prevents starvation. You will find it hard to implement your healthy eating goals when you’re feeling hungry and dissatisfied. And you will suffer from cravings, ultimately causing you to fall into under-eating and over-eating cycles.
Your body will make a choice: lose body fat or lose muscle. An inadequately fueled body will choose to drop calorie-burning muscle rather than fat. Excessive loss of lean muscle mass leads to weight loss without improvement of body composition or health. Create an eating plan to control your calories and make sure you’re eating balanced meals and snacks. A consistent eating pattern will control your energy level, appetite, cravings, blood glucose and insulin levels. Plus–eating regular meals and snacks help you practice portion control and fuel your resting metabolism.
How to calculate personal needs
Be aware of your personal needs. Your resting metabolic rate can be roughly estimated by multiplying your body weight (in pounds) by 10. This is the minimum number of calories that your body needs to lose weight. Consuming fewer calories than your resting metabolism is counteractive. Your total daily needs are your resting metabolic rate plus the calories burned in everyday living and in exercise. Divide your calories evenly throughout the day so that you fuel your body every three to five hours.
Breakfast is key
Start the day with a well-balanced breakfast that includes a lean protein-rich food along with whole grains and veggies or fruit. High-quality protein at breakfast will help control your appetite all day. Breakfast starts your metabolic engine and is associated with successful maintenance of weight loss. Without it, you are prone to overeating later in the day. Even when mornings are rushed, try having a smoothie instead which is a lot less time consuming and easier to digest if you don’t like eating early.
Calorie restriction and skipping meals may seem like the clear path to weight loss, and you may lose weight using these strategies, but your weight loss will be slow and frustrating. More importantly, you will lose valuable muscle mass and ultimately you are sure to regain the weight you have lost. Fuel your metabolism and nourish your body with high-quality, nutrient-dense foods to stop battling your weight and lose fat forever.