Why Eat Less, Move More Is Failing You
This is gonna be a bummer but... your body doesn’t care if you have a six pack.
In fact, always striving to eat less and move more can change the way your brain regulates your body weight.
Your body needs energy to function and stay alive. You must get that energy from food OR by breaking down stored energy in your body (usually from fat stores).
The equation that we’ve all seen is:
Changes in body mass = Energy In - Energy Out
Burn more energy than you take in? You *should* lose weight.
Take in more energy than you burn? You *should* gain weight.
This is where we get that whole “Eat less, Move More” idea. And, to be fair, it’s not so bad. Moving more is something many of us would benefit from and we live in a world where portion sizes are typically waaaay larger than they need to be to support us.
But - we all know it isn’t that simple and this doesn’t really hold up in real life or we wouldn’t see so much struggle when it comes weight changes.
Before I go any further - there’s a lot of WHY weight loss is difficult and the science surrounding metabolism and metabolic regulation. If you love being informed and believe that knowledge is power - keep reading! Otherwise if you just want to know WHAT to do to make changes make sure you stay tuned for part 4 of this series, where I dole out 6 ways to bust your weight loss plateau.
I’m going to make an assumption - you’d like to lose a little body fat. That’s the most likely reason you’re reading this right now. If you don’t want to make any changes to your body right now, that’s great!
This is an article that’s for the women who are bouncing between new diets every week or two, trying keto, low fat, or plant based eating styles in an act of slight desperation to see some REAL change for all their effort. It’s also for you if you’re barely eating during the week and then diving head first into bottles of wine, birthday cake, and Chinese on the weekends - no judgement here, but hopefully this helps you out!
In order to understand metabolic regulation we have to also understand body composition, or the percentage of fat tissue to non-fat tissue on your body.
For our purposes that’s an important distinction to make because if we want to lose FAT, that is a specific tissue type and fat plays a role within our total body weight.
Our body composition (how much body fat we have compared to muscle and other lean tissue) is influenced by things like hormones, protein intake, genetics, what types of exercise you do, and more.
So let’s get back to that equation from above:
Body Weight (mass) = Energy In - Energy Out
Let’s talk about Energy In.
Energy in comes from your food. Whether it’s plants, protein, fat, or carbs, these foods bring you energy (not to mention lots of essential nutrients!).
Issue #1: Just because you put it in your mouth doesn’t mean your body actually absorbs it!
Your body must eat, digest, and absorb foods in order to be able to use it for your “energy in”. This is where we could go down the rabbit hole of gut health, but I’ll spare you (for now).
Here’s the key to this point: the more processed your food is - the less work your body has to do to break it down and absorb it. That means you are more likely to absorb every calorie from that juice, smoothie, or bag of potato chips. That also means you’re going to burn less energy through the actual process of digestion. This is a massively underrated part of why eating more whole, unprocessed foods helps you manage your body composition easier.
Issue #2: No matter how precisely you count calories - you’re guessing.
Food labels and calorimetry (how we determine the number of calories in a food) are archaic and outdated and have be proven to be off by up to 25%. That means your “100 calorie snack pack” might actually be 75 calories. Or it could be 125. Your guess is as good as mine.
Got it? Ok. That's it for today but keep your eyes peeled because ENERGY OUT is on the agenda next!
These types of articles take a decent amount of time and effort on my part, but it is SO worth it if I can help more women overcome that never ending battle with their bodies.
If you know someone you think would benefit from this series, please take a minute to send it their way so we can cut back on #fitnessfakenews and bring you scientific 411.