Eat More to Lose More
Weight loss should not mean starvation
Flickr Creative Commons
Now that it’s officially beach season, some of us are thinking it’s time to quickly lose some weight. If you read enough fashion magazines or watch enough reality TV shows, you might think the first step to doing that is by slashing your daily calorie intake. Indeed, cutting back on calories logically seems to be a good way to lose undesired weight. But the reality is that eating less is actually more likely going to make you gain more in the long run.
How is that possible? It seems so counterintuitive that putting more calories into your body would actually result in weight loss. The reality is that your body is programmed to use the food you put into it as energy. When you stop providing it the amount of fuel it requires to make energy and just generally get you through your day, it goes into starvation mode in order to protect you. But what that results in when you’re not actually going through a famine in the desert is just extra unwanted fat storage. That’s right—your body will actually sacrifice muscle and start storing more fat. Because muscle burns more calories, which requires more energy—and yes, you guessed it, more food—your body will forfeit lean muscle and store your low-maintenance fat cells instead. Yikes! That’s likely not the look you were hoping for this beach season.
So what can you do to lose weight in time to look good in that adorable swimsuit you paid an arm and a leg for? It’s easier than you think: eat more.
Now this isn’t a no-strings-attached deal. You can’t just eat more of whatever you want. But you certainly don’t have to starve yourself every day eating miniature salads and checking every food item you consume for the calorie content. It’s far more important to make sure that the food you’re eating is high in nutrients that are going to fuel fat burning and muscle building. Fruits, vegetables and lean meats are the best types of food for these purposes. Stay away from empty calories that won’t convert to fat-burning energy, like sugar, most grains and starches—and basically anything that comes ready to eat in a box or a bag.
Not only will eating a proper amount of healthy foods help you lose unwanted fat and build muscle, but it will also benefit you in other ways. If you eat this way, you’ll always feel full after a meal or snack. You’ll never have that dreadful feeling of being finished with a meal and still not feeling satisfied. Frequent bouts with those feelings are what lead to binge eating unhealthy foods. Eating enough food will help you stay disciplined with your food choices. It also helps you feel more energized throughout your day. Starvation diets rarely work because they drain you of your energy and don’t motivate you to exercise. Eating a proper amount of healthy foods will gear your body up for exercise and will even help you to push further in your workouts.
Because of the pervasive idea in society that says you need to eat less to lose more, the idea of doing the opposite of that to get the result you want can seem very daunting. But the only way to find out is to give it a try.