Cutting calories should always be a last resort

In most people’s minds weight loss should be simple; eat less, workout more, lose weight. In its simplest form this should be true but unfortunately it’s not quite that simple.

In most people’s minds weight loss should be simple; eat less, workout more, lose weight. In its simplest form this should be true but unfortunately it’s not quite that simple.

If you’re eating a lot of processed food, then you might be eating excessive amounts of calories. Processed food often contains higher amounts of fat and sugar, both very calorie dense and low physical volume. In this situation cutting a few calories will probably help, but only a little.

Processed food in comparison to whole food is also denatured, meaning it’s deficient in vitamins, minerals and especially enzymes found more abundantly in whole, natural, raw foods. What we have so far is high amounts of energy (calories) with low amounts of synergistic resources (think like driving your car with gas but no oil; it’s not going to work for long.) Before cutting calories always work to eliminate processed food, use as many whole, natural, raw and preferably organic foods as possible.

If you’ve struggled to lose weight in the past you must consider the state of your current physiology. These days weight gain, in my opinion, is only loosely correlated to the amount of food/calories you consume. Generally your current physiology is not at the forefront of the conversation, which I guess makes sense as it’s rather vague and confusing but yet central to progress and specifically long term progress.

Cutting calories to ultra low levels may yield immediate, short-term weight loss, but it’s almost assuredly going to be met with rebound weight gain in an amount greater than what is lost. By comparison if you address your underlying physiology first, gains may be slower but they will be lasting; in fact it should become very difficult to gain the weight back.

The biggest negative influences on our physiology are stress and exposure to toxins. Whether you realize it or not in our world of the 21st century we are bombarded with toxins ranging from chemicals in household cleaning products, to off gassing of construction materials in the buildings we work and live in, to pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in mass production food sources.

This is all fine and wonderful while we are children with a metabolism in hyper-drive and vibrant, healthy, growing organs. As we progress through adulthood the daily bombardment regularly exceeds the ability of organs such as the kidney and liver to process and eliminate these toxins. As capacity is exceeded these toxins cannot remain in our bloodstream or we would surely die. Our body instead encases them in triglycerides (fat) and stores them for later, in hopes that one day it can process and eliminate them. Hence why men and women have those troublesome common areas for fat deposits.

When we cut calories it’s like firing workers in the factory, to a point production or capacity isn’t effected but fire to many and efficiency and production decreases as a whole.

If you are serious about losing weight and improving your health long term begin by eliminating all the processed food as you can. Replace as many things as you can with whole, natural and organic foods. If you can commit to eliminating gluten, as it’s one of the biggest and most well known inflammatory agents we’re exposed to. Keep calories at least 15% higher than your current basal metabolic rate (BMR.) You can easily find this equation on Google.

From there take note of how you feel, how your energy levels are, and how your mood is. I frequently see how a difference of a 200 calorie reduction can suddenly leave people feeling exhausted, or create feelings of procrastination toward activity, or even turn restful sleep into restless nights. If you listen carefully your body will always tell you what to do, but certainly this is a where a good trainer can help too!

Cabel McElderry is a local personal trainer and nutrition coach. For more information on fitness and nutrition, visit the Fitness F/X website at www.fitnessfx.com.

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