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Level Up: Are you eating enough?

LevelUp

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.

What?

Yep.

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.

 

BTW, if you want to see more Level Up, you can hit follow on Instagram: https://instagram.com/tlknighton/

Or, you can check out the dedicated website for Level Up here.

 

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4 comments on “Level Up: Are you eating enough?

  1. I found out the same thing when I started paying attention to what I was eating this spring. During the semester I was routinely skipping meals, and although I attempted to replace them with protein bars, I was still falling well under 1200 calories a day on most days. It surprised me, and along with a medication change, was likely why I put on 20 lbs over the last year. Now that the excitement in my life is settling out, I should be able to track and do better with ‘mindful eating’ as I’ve been calling it.

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    • It’ll sneak up on you. A lot of people don’t realize how easily it is to go too low on your calories if you’re not careful and just what the results can be.

      As for “mindful eating”, that’s actually a great term. We all need to be mindful of what we consume and, if we go “off diet”, so to speak, then it needs to be a conscious decision for whatever reason. “I like it” is a perfectly valid reason, but we need to be mindful that our bodies aren’t built to consume too much of that kind of stuff.

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      • Well, i hate the concept of ‘dieting’ so I needed a better way to think of it. Basically I’m trying to cut back on surplus sugar consumption (like sodas, since I can’t tolerate artificial sweeteners) and pay attention to what I eat and when. Along with that, an uptick in exercise and in theory I’ll be healthier although not necessarily lighter.

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        • Honestly, you should. Diet is supposed to mean all the things we consume. It has been turned into a dirty word (see? It’s got four letters) that’s synonymous with denial of what you want and general suffering.

          And yep, you’ll be healthier. Lighter is important only if you’re either at risk for various weight-related diseases, your doctor tells you to get lighter, or you’re just unhappy with where you’re at. However, healthier is definitely a better focus. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

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