Does Eating Less Mean Gaining Less?

Summer is quickly approaching and that means beaches, backyard BBQ’s and BATHING SUITS…ahhhhh!  Many of us have spent the last several months in a winter state of eating hearty soups, meaty chili and hiding behind our big, comfy sweaters.  Now that the temps are changing, it’s time to shed some layers…in all senses.

The immediate reaction from most is to start eating less and start working out.  Because calories in beats calories out, right?  Well, the laws of thermodynamics is a way to express how energy is used and changed, but, energy balance does NOT determine bodyweight.  Yes, it is true that if we take in more energy than we expend, we gain weight, while taking in less energy than we expend causes weight loss.  But, there are other factors to take into consideration when applying this theory.  We cannot EXACTLY measure energy inputs and outputs from day to day, minute to minute (due to various influencing variables), so in turn we cannot accurately measure if we’re eating too little or too much for our body’s requirements.

UNDER-EATING OVER LONG PERIODS OF TIME CAN LEAD TO:

  • Less energy expenditure in digestion because you’re eating less
  • Resting metabolic rate goes down because you weigh less
  • Calories burned through physical activity go down because you weigh less
  • Everyday life movements go down and you expend less energy through the day
  • Digestion slows down and you absorb more energy from your food
  • Appetite and hunger hormones increase
  • Satiety hormones go down (harder to feel full)
  • Thyroid and sex hormones go down

THINGS TO LOOK FOR:

  • Correct measurements of calorie counts in foods
  • Lower than calculated energy needs
  • Expending less energy than your fitness tracker shows
  • Low amounts of lean body mass
  • Too much energy absorption in digestion (slow digestion rate)

WHAT CAN I DO?

  • MEASURE INTAKE: track food intake through food scales and food logs
  • EAT WHOLE FOODS: these foods are harder to overeat and help you feel full
  • PLAY WITH MACROS: More/less carbs and fats: see how your body responds to these
  • FIND A COACH: Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

In the end…play with your diet and exercise.  What works for one does not always work for others.  Whether you’re eating for performance, or eating for aesthetics, you should ultimately be eating for longevity!!!

Source credit: Precision Nutrition