Are you eating enough?
I ask because I know I’m not. Not at all. And, I suspect some of you who have started eating “clean” might not either. Why is that?
Part of the problem for most Americans dealing with their weight is that so much of what we ate was loaded with calories and carbohydrates, and that gets converted into fat by our bodies. We’re used to eating a certain amount of food
However, 100 grams of food is still 100 grams. Your stomach doesn’t realize that you’re feeding it a salad rather than a pizza. It just knows about the actual volume of food. As such, you feel fuller with fewer calories.
My goal is about 2100 calories per day. That should put me at a caloric deficit of about 500 calories per day, or 3,500 calories per week. In theory, this should result in about a pound of body weight lost per week.
However, I’m finding it very difficult to eat enough calories without stuffing myself. Yes, you read that right. In order to lose weight safely, I’m having to stuff myself with food.
Sounds like a nice problem to have, isn’t it?
Honestly, I think it is. After all, a lot of people associate weight loss with hunger, and I haven’t been hungry in the least…and I’m getting too few calories. Nice, right?
Well, it is except for the too few calories.
When you don’t get enough calories in general, your body kicks in an evolutionary adaptation for dealing with famine. It takes your metabolism, one of the key aspects of weight loss, and slows it down. It basically rations the body fat you have in an effort to make it stretch as long as possible. You’re not going to get rid of the fat you want to see bid you a fond farewell.
So how do you deal with that? Well, it’s simple. Eat more.
“But I don’t want to stuff myself until I’m sick.”
Understood, but this might also be a good time to talk about cheat meals.
Cheat meals are pretty popular in many weight loss circles for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons is that it signals to your body that food is still available. This keeps your metabolism off balance in a way, and prevents it from triggering famine protocols and keeping things rolling right along.
That’s also kind of what I’ve been doing.
The problem I have is the idea of “cheat” meals. You see, the word “cheat” indicates you’re doing something wrong, that you should be eating something else but you’re not.
But you’re not cheating. I had pizza on Saturday night. Why? Because my calories were so low that I made a conscious choice to boost them up to keep from dropping weight too fast. It wasn’t a cheat, but a correction. It was a desperate attempt to get sufficient calories into my body.
Of course, it’s also important to not get too hung up on eating.
You see, I’ve come to realize that despite my own efforts to make changes slowly, they weren’t that slow. That means there’s going to be times when things fall apart. I made a conscious choice, but is that what will happen each and every week?
The reality is that, considering how most of us eat, we’re better served to just eat better.
My personal goal is to eat 17 clean meals each week, at a minimum. That puts me at eating over 80 percent clean, and leaves me a bit of room to deal with life. Plus, if I’m not getting enough calories, I have four full meals to eat whatever I need to eat to boost those up.
Now, you’re not going to want to eat like that indefinitely, but it’s a hell of a place to start with and puts you ahead of the vast majority of folks in the geek community.
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