Why a Calorie Deficit is Not the Answer | Women Over 50

A calorie deficit is the only way to lose weight. 

Well, actually no.

Hormones not calories determine whether your body stores or burns fat.

It’s what the calories … you eat… and you burn (exercise) … do to your hormones.

Visionaries Do Not Apologize.

Create more lean muscle tissue.

Eat more quality food.

Research tells us you can eat up to about 300kcals more a day when you eat high quality food than when you eat crap.

1980 called and wants this simple math equation back.

It is not calories in and calories out.

A piece of chocolate cake vs a piece of salmon and a sweet potato will not have the same effect on your body. Yet, they’re similar in calories.

What does the food do to your blood sugar, insulin level, and liver?

A calorie deficit is not the answer if the strategy ignores your hormones.

Cortisol and insulin will increase and team up to store fat and create additional fat, located usually to your belly.

If you are stressed by creating a caloric deficit your muscle will break down due to cortisol.

You will also begin to conserve energy in response to less coming in.

You won’t be as active.

You’ll be less likely to increase lean muscle without adequate nutrients, calories, and protein to provide repair.

Truth about Calorie Deficit

More women are eating too little  – or too little of the right thing – than too much. Have you seen the way a healthy woman eats? One who has an abundance of energy and is always up for an adventure? She likely eats more than someone who wants to lose weight following the typical diet.

When you eat more whole foods you can absolutely eat more volume. About 300 more kcals per day.

A Calorie Deficit Once Means a Lifetime of Counting

Guess what… you don’t get to go back to eating more later if you lose weight by eating less. Because if you lose weight this way, you will end up slowing your metabolism – the speed at which you burn calories.

If you want to create a deficit by reducing your calories by a couple hundred and increasing your exercise by a couple hundred… say you don’t eat seconds of salmon but eat second of green beans, and you go for a 30-minute walk before dinner. Done.

Will that help you lose weight? It could.

You’re not doing anything crazy. You’re not reducing calories dramatically and probably paying more attention to how you feel in terms of fullness. You’re just moving more not going crazy trying to Stairmaster or bootcamp for an hour a day.

But if you’re an “I need results yesterday’s yesterday…” kind of 2020 and beyond gal… and you fast ‘til noon drinking coffee, then eat one small meal and a bigger meal for dinner, then you do go for an hour run daily to burn those calories off…fasted… all of that caloric deficit could indeed backfire on you, because you’re turning on stress hormones. Whenever you exercise and whenever you diet… your body is stressed. It can work for or against you.

You’re not a simple math equation.

You’ve been able to add and subtract since second grade. Let’s not simplify the chemistry and endocrine system down to that. In fact, that probably worked for you as a young woman. And along the way you were also losing muscle. Which has now come back to bite you in the butt.

You’re either skinny fat, or you’re overweight with high fat, or you’re tired and may look good in jeans without any energy to live your life. And with a constant focus and innate ability to tell everyone ordering at a menu exactly how many calories in the food she’s ordering.

Counting All the Time?

This my dear? Not an endearing trait. Obsessing about calories leaves you right here though. Then thinking you’re either going to be “good” or “bad” and never changing your relationship with food.

So… it depends is always the unsatisfying answer.

There is no blanket “create a calorie deficit to lose weight” that works.

Evidence of a Calorie Deficit Working Long Term?

In 34 years of working with groups, private clients, and training trainers, rarely has a calorie deficit based diet ever worked for anyone as a permanent weight loss tool. One of two things happen:

  • Weight regain because the deficit is not sustain able and for weight loss to be sustained.. the amount of calories a body can take after it occurs is LESS than got to weight loss initially
  • They blow it. They can’t keep up the exercise with reduced food intake long term and love life. They’re preoccupied, constantly scared, slaves to the scale, and hating life. There are few conversations not about food or meals … every social event is a panic.

Calories DO Matter

What does work is balancing hormones with the right exercise at the right time together with the signs & symptoms of a woman’s hormone status PLUS a caloric deficit created by first making the most of high-quality foods.

Beginning with calorie counting, ignoring the effect of the calories you’re eating on your hormones can in fact cause weight gain, fat storage, and slow metabolism making regain of weight almost guaranteed.

The Rigid Rules Lose

A woman who is “barely eating and exercising all the time” – which I often hear from women who first find me and who’ve been encouraged to do so even by trainers and fitness instructors – will be the most likely to struggle with weight and or fatigue.

Look, bears can get fat on blueberries. So can you. I’ve worked with vegans or vegetarians who felt they were being so very healthy eating beans, legumes, and snacking on blueberries or mango… who were carb sensitive and couldn’t lose weight like that. They desperately needed more protein and only a moderate amount of healthy fat.

Plant Protein

Nearly every plant-based protein source has a high amount of carbohydrates, except for protein shakes. Those if you don’t select carefully can have hidden sugars and chemicals in them. Beans, legumes, quinoa, and brown rice are high in carbohydrates.

Soy may or may not work for you based on historic classifications as an estrogenic, obesogenic, and goitrogenic. You need to test it for yourself. There is mixed science on benefits and risk of soy. Non-GMO, and fermented may be the best to test first.

If a Calorie-deficit is Not the Answer What Is?

Pay attention to quality first.

Lighten the load on your liver second.

I focus on what you CAN put in and how to do it.

I focus on the effect of the food (or lack of it – which also can spike blood sugar and fat storage).

Then we begin to look at the amount of food overall.

But here’s what happens 90% of the time, when I work with someone on their needs per meal the overall calories may go up or down slightly but satisfaction, micronutrient density, and pleasure with food go up.

When deprivation comes out of the picture and you’re able to eat so much more volume than you ever did before?

  • Energy.
  • Weight loss.
  • Improved sleep.
  • Improved digestion.

Change Things

Boost your metabolism with strength training instead of focus on endurance exercise. Even HIIT workouts if over done when you have too little fuel will backfire.

I’m going to put the link to join me at the one-two punch of STRONGER, and the Food Flip. We start a few times a year and this is the last one in 2020. The next launch may not be until March of 2021.

Last Call

Doors close Wednesday and we start October 1. It’s the first and only workout program designed for women in menopause based on research for women in menopause.

Muscle is metabolically active tissue. The more of it you have, meaning avoiding losses associated with age and gaining some, the more you can freely control your blood sugar and eat and enjoy food and an active life.

Show notes:

Flippingfifty dot com/calorie-deficit

 

 

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