I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
Diets (specifically calorie restriction diets) are designed for ONE reason, to make money on a simplified understanding of how the human body works. Not only does restricting calories create multiple issues with the human body but it also is a reckless way to lose weight.
Let me explain from a food-as-a-resource perspective: If you restrict ANYTHING you have two potential techniques available to you in using the restricted resource. Those two techniques are:
Rationing Your Resource
If you ration your resource the biggest issue if you want to continue to accomplish the same things is adjusting the way you use your resource. In the example of a car this means reducing your speed so you don’t burn as much fuel. It may also mean avoiding hills so that the car doesn’t have to work as hard. In any case, you end up not using your car to it’s full potential. How does limiting food then allow you to burn more calories? If you aren’t pushing your body to it’s full potential because you ration your food intake is it really able to burn the same amount of calories? Of course it can’t, you EAT LESS calories but are also able to BURN LESS.
Now let’s say you limit your range. Ok, you can use your car to it’s full potential but for how long? Can you go the same amount of miles on ½ a tank of gas? Of course you CAN’T! So you can eat half the calories you should but you may be surprised that asking the same of your body and mind (brainpower also burns calories) for 16 hours per day just isn’t feasible. The most common result is that your body and mind end up rationing FOR you. This is manifested in multiple ways: feeling sluggish and losing strength, needing to take a nap, slowed metabolism, losing focus or critical thinking power all are the result of your input not matching your output.
Take a look at this amazing study from many, many years ago that illustrates this point perfectly. If you are struggling with not just body goals but also mental and emotional ones you owe it to yourself to ready this study. It reads like a horror movie!
The Minnesota Starvation Experiment
The Minnesota Starvation Experiment
How did we get to a point in history where we lost the understanding of how simple fueling your body is? DON’T ever STARVE yourself! It is nothing more than self-torture and self-sabotage. It may make sense from a simplified, unscientific, layperson’s perspective but if it didn’t work 60 years ago, it’s not going to work today!
Now THIS will blow your mind. If you think that calorie counting is still the best way to estimate intake and output so you have an understanding of how much to eat and exercise, read this. Your "fool-proof method" just may have a 25% margin of error!!!
So if starvation isn't the answer and tracking calories isn't the answer then what is???
The answer isn't as complicated as you think!
We are challenging everyone to track their fiber intake in April for a very important reason. Unhealthy food doesn't have fiber. It's almost a universal law.
The purpose of this month's challenge isn't to focus solely on your fiber intake but also what you are putting into your body to accumulate the appropriate AMOUNT of fiber. You'll find over the next few weeks that eating fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains nets you the most fiber. It also happens to be the best fuel for your body. Not just because those foods contain health amounts of fat, protein and carbohydrates but also for the things they DON'T contain.
Very real roadblocks to success such as free sugars, "junk carbs", trans fats, preservatives and additives that slow your metabolism and tell your body to store fat don't exist in a proper diet! When your digestive tract isn't saddled with trying to process those things, you have more energy for the things you want to do. You'll feel more energy, you'll be able to go harder in your workouts and you won't feel sluggish and run down!
Look for the next blog post where we’ll talk about another popular calorie restriction method “The Cleanse” and why it should be avoided.