"Eat Less, Move More" is not the answer for weight loss. Our society, trainers and doctors alike, have been throwing this saying around for years as if it were common sense. Not only is it not common sense it down right will not work long term or effectively. Don't get me wrong the equation that warranted the saying is true: if you burn more energy (calories) than you consume, you can lose weight. But that's as far as that simplicity goes and it would make much more sense if our bodies worked like a car: when you use more gas than you have, you run out of gas. Our bodies don't run like cars though. Our bodies also have physiological, psychological, and environmental factors at play. 

Not only is "eat less, move more" not an effective way to teach weight loss methods it hinders people from even getting started on a path to wellness. Often people will tell me "I know what I need to do, I just can't make myself do it"; the problem is, they don't know what to do, they cannot make themselves do it because they believe what they have to do is eat less and move more. If I had to bet I'd say everyone that has used that line has tried that method at least once, if not multiple times. Intuitively their bodies, their brains, and their emotions are like "no sir, no way" I will not do that again. In a sense they are right, they can't make themselves do it because it's going again their biological needs. 

Another big hangup with this old saying is people have no idea how many calories they are burning in a day. Burning more calories than you consume is called creating a "calorie deficit". For example, there is a popular food logging app that if you set your weight loss goal it will do its best (based off of the very limited information it has on you) to create a calorie deficit. If you burn 400 calories during a workout it will adjust the number of calories that you "can or cannot" have. The red sirens blaring problem is: this does not account for your basal metabolic rate. Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories you burn while at rest. It is also the number of calories you need to survive, thrive, and keep your bodily functions going. You burn calories in your sleep. You burn calories by breathing, swallowing, your heart beating, digesting food, etc.

I am 32, 5'9" and I weigh 150 pounds. My basal metabolic rate would be close to 1500 calories (which can also vary depending on other health or environmental factors). That means if I do not get out of bed or move my body would still require 1500 calories for my organs to function properly. Anything below that number already puts me at a calorie deficit. Now say that I get up and move, go through my usual day, walk up a couple set of stairs and burn another 500 calories and then I go an workout and burn another 400. That's 2400 calories burned. If I only ate 1500 calories I'd be at a 900 calorie deficit. This is way. too. high. Worse, most people go on a restricted calorie diet, do not account for BMR, and put themselves at an even greater calorie deficit. 

Too great a calorie deficit will not only cause psychological problems (which are not just psychological - but physiological) like extreme cravings, hunger, anxiety, depression, sluggishness, mental fog, among other things. It also causes a loss in muscle mass, depletes energy, reduces nutrients, disrupts hormones (leptin, testosterone, low libido, cortisol), causes water retention, and actually slows down your metabolism. Basically, a great calorie deficit does all of the exact opposite things you were going for. 

The best advice I can give you when it comes to your food and calories: pay more attention to the quality of your food than you do the quantity. Focus on what foods you should be adding in to your day to support your system and live with vitality!

I'll address the move more section of this saying next week... I've depleted too many calories and need to go fuel up! 

Sweat & Smiles,

Melissa

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