How many times have you thought to yourself, I have been good today, I have not eaten much all day?

Do you think your diet is good because breakfast is a piece of wholemeal toast and lunch is a salad? Because of the way fat loss is perceived, through media, so called diet guru’s etc, we have come to believe that eating less is best. If you are over weight the first comments are you usually cut down on the food and get some exercise.

The less you eat, the more fat you will lose. A thousand calories a day is all you need. These comments are portrayed as the given for quick weight loss. This unfortunately is the exact opposite of how our bodies like to work.

Remember your body’s priority is keeping you alive.

When we don’t eat enough food each day our body becomes defensive and moves into starvation mode. This is how the body protects us when we eat a lack of food.

I think it is fair to say most people have heard of the “body going into starvation mode” But what is starvation mode? When you heavily restrict calories, the body decreases its metabolism, forcing the body to preserve fat and increase appetite to try to make you eat more.

This why some people who lose weight quickly on crash diets often look and feel softer.

Now for the science bit. When calories are heavily restricted, the level of the hormone Leptin, drops drastically. What is Leptin? Leptin is an influential hormone or protein in the body that is produced by human fat cells. What Leptin does in the body is communicating directly with the brain and tells the brain how much fat is stored in the body it controls your appetite, energy levels, hormone balance and your metabolism.

When you heavily restrict calories, leptin levels plummet, sending a signal to the brain that you are not eating enough food. Once this happens, all those other things (decreased metabolism, stalled fat loss, increased appetite, etc) occur as a chain reaction.

At this point, fat loss becomes a real battle, which is why most people fail when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off.

So how do you do it?

The key is to create a moderate caloric deficit through both diet and exercise. You only need to reduce calories enough to have you losing fat at a consistent, steady rate, but do not cut calories so low as to trigger your body’s starvation protection mechanism.

First, never ever, ever, ever skip meals—ever—especially breakfast.

Second, be mindful of your calorie intake.  To avoid the disasters of starvation mode, I recommend keeping your caloric deficit moderate—no more than 500 calories below your daily maintenance intake. A daily reduction of 500 calories equals 3500-calorie deficit, which is equal to 1lb of fat loss. Let me reaffirm that does not mean that cutting calories more than 500 will lead to faster weight loss

Eat more, lose more, of course there is fine line. I am not saying eat as much as you can. The best way to workout how much you are eating is to keep a food diary. It should detail everything you eat and drink.

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