This post is all about breaking the eating less and moving more mindset. If you've tried this common theory before, how did that end up for you? Probably not so great right? Maybe you lost a little weight but got so burned out on not eating enough that you returned to your old eating ways. Or maybe even binged because you had been depriving yourself and the weight came back plus a little more.
Is eating less and working out more, but still not losing weight happening to you?
It would make sense that if you eat less and workout more, you would lose weight when you go by the numbers alone, right? This is what we are told over and over again.
Calories in vs calories out seems like such a simple solution, but our bodies aren’t math equations. We are way more complex than that with muscle, fat, bone density, metabolism and hormones involved, not to mention environmental factors and stressors.
Here are 8 reasons why the "eat less work and out more" myth is actually hurting you instead of helping you.
1. Starvation mode
It’s a real thing. When you eat less, your body holds onto everything it has. It begins to use stored energy instead of fat to burn because your brain begins to go into famine mode. When your body isn’t sure when or how much you will feed it again, it will hold everything for as long as possible. This is why when you go on restrictive, low calorie diets, you typically yo-yo and go back to gaining more weight and more fat in the end.
2. Slower metabolism
Your metabolism slows down when you aren’t fueling it enough. Your metabolism doesn’t start running high again just because you start eating more food. Once you no longer live in that calorie deficit day in and day out, your metabolism stays halted and you gain fat back quickly. You want your metabolism to stay high all the time and for that to happen you need to fuel it properly.
3. Food Obsession
When you deprive yourself for weeks and months of calories, macros, and micronutrients, it will do a number on you psychologically. You begin to focus on all the food you aren’t supposed to have and then start to want it more. The end result is becoming a slave to food which leads to food obsession and often times binging.
4. Lack of fuel
This goes back to point #2. When you don’t fuel your body the way it was made to be fueled, it simply cannot perform optimally. I’m not even talking about physically, I’m talking about your brain, gut health, hormone regulation, and metabolism. Placing less focus on your calories and more emphasis on your macros (protein, fats, and carbs) each day will arm your body with the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to signal to your body that it is safe and OK to start burning fat.
Bottom line is that we need macros and nutrients in general to lose fat.
If you are working out to hopefully burn off that extra vacation food or your overindulging weekend, it’s time to change your mindset. Overtraining leads to a surge in the stress hormone cortisol
, which wreaks havoc on your metabolism, immune system, and mood. Studies show that elevated cortisol levels cause your body to break down muscle and store more body fat around your midsections. Those long, super intense workouts, are actually counterproductive to burning fat.
Working out super intense 6-7 days a week will only lead to burnout and injuries, especially as you age. You will not be able to continually work out hard 6-7 days a week and will get burned out from your workouts. It is not sustainable. Your chances of getting hurt increase and if you try to work out past those injuries, it makes it harder for your body to recover.
Working out smarter and effectively, for 30 minutes, doing the right exercises will do more for you than trying to kill it in the gym every day of the week.
7. Increased stress
When you under-eat and overtrain, your stress hormone cortisol stays high. It was meant to come down, but when it doesn’t, it’s similar to starvation mode. Your body will hold on to your fat storage. While it is ok and natural even for our cortisol to raise during our workouts, it MUSt come back down again. Increased stress typically results in lack of sleep which also leads to excess fat and weight gain.
8. Hormone imbalances
Living in a constant state of stress throws hormones out of whack which as women age, we don’t want to mess with unbalanced hormones. The best thing we can do is fuel our bodies with the macro, micronutrients, and smarter workouts. This will keep our body from being constantly stressed or going into starvation mode and throwing all of our other systems into chaos.
The bottom line is that eating less and working out more isn’t the answer for weight-loss.
Unfortunately, the equation of calories in vs calories out just doesn’t work even though we want it to. It’s simple but our bodies are anything but simple. In order for our bodies to work correctly, we need to fuel them correctly. To be at our optimum health, we have to do the right things for our body. This means eating our macros, getting plenty of rest, decreasing our cortisol, hydrating, and working out the smart way.
Tune into our podcast where I dive deeper into these 8 myths that explain why working out more and eating less could be sabotaging your weight-loss goals.
Burn Fat and Feast goes into much greater detail about all the above so that you can finally put the pieces of the wellness puzzle together and see results long term. Join our next FREE 5 Day training to burning fat and increasing your energy and join the wellness program that actually works!