Friday, February 4, 2011

Eating more to lose weight = counterintuitive

Over the past 20-30 years we've been told that we need to eat less and exercise more to lose weight. In a very, VERY general sense, this was the case. But that's the same as taking an engine-less car to a mechanic and him saying you've got engine trouble. Its vaguely accurate, but doesn't come close to telling us the truth. 

Here are the basics for weight loss:
  • An energy deficit must occur - calories in must be less than calories out
Pretty simple, huh? 
But lets look at both parts of that equation. What happens when we eat? 
  • Metabolism increases in response to feeding
  • Protein increases metabolism more than carbohydrate or fat
  • Hormones are released to transport fuel either into muscle, or to be used for repairing the body
  • There is an increase in vitamins, minerals, fiber and other beneficial micronutrients that help our body to run at its best
What happens when we do resistance training?
  • Increase in metabolism
  • Increase in protein sparing
  • Increase in fat usage during rest
  • Increase in muscle tissue, which in turn increases resting metabolism
So if we look at the two factors to weight loss we can deduce that eating less will
  • Slow our metabolism
  • Provide less energy to fuel and repair the body
  • Decrease in vitamins, minerals, fiber and other micronutrients
So now, does eating less really sound like a great plan for losing weight? Maybe not as good as it first sounded. Now stay with me...I'm going to make a point soon. I promise.

A calorie deficit is needed to lose weight. Here are two drastically different models for weight loss.

A) Eat 1200 calories a day and burn 1800 calories through exercise and resting metabolism.
B) Eat 2400 calories a day and burn 3000 calories through exercise and resting metabolism.

Well if you're like most of the country who loves to eat, you'll probably choose option B. And this would be the better choice. Go back to what happens when we eat. Our metabolism INCREASES. When we exercise our metabolism INCREASES. So what if we did both more frequently? Then our metabolism would be soaring!!

A few months ago, many of you purchased "Gourmet Nutrition." One of the authors of the book, John Berardi, has an interesting thought on this concept. He calls it energy flux, or G-Flux. The basic premise is this: the more energy we get coming in and going out of our body will increase resting metabolism, increase nutrient intake and overall be much more successful for losing fat.

Here is a quick link to an interview he did that explains it in a bit more detail. Make sure you've got about 10 minutes to read it though. But its certainly worth it. 

In summary, the words of one of our more "popular" Hi5-ers are quickly becoming the truth. "I workout so I can eat," is quite accurate. But the key is you still have to maintain a calorie deficit. There is a lot more to the G-Flux concept, but once you come to understand it many of you, especially you exercise junkies are going to appreciate it. 

If you're interested in finding out more about your own energy intake and output, schedule a Nutrition Assessment with me. They are completely free to Hi-5 FitCamp members and take about 30 minutes.

Have a great weekend!

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