How is it that women seem to accept that the lower your calories the better it’ll be for weight loss? How is it SO ingrained to us that foods are “bad” or “naughty” and that brownies aren’t “diet friendly”? (I’ll elaborate on the whole brownie debacle later)
Is it marketing? Is it from years of having images thrown at us showing that the only way you’re acceptable in society if you’re thin/”toned”/without wobble? Are we THAT unaware how our bodies respond to nutrition that we will believe an app that suggests dangerously low levels of calories, in order to lose weight? (I don’t like the phrase, lose weight….weight is so much more than what the scale tells you & I don’t even want to go into how flawed BMI is)
All you have to do is Google the word “diet” and you’re immediately shown things like “lose weight in a week” or “This person lost all this weight by doing just one thing” and other titles that are clearly designed to draw you in. Not everyone wants to tell you the truth…
The issue with diet & weight loss is that not one thing works for everyone, however one thing IS a constant: Calories in<Calories out, but it’s not that simple. If it was, we could drop our calories by half, drop however many dress sizes we wanted to & that would be that. No more need for slimming world, paleo, keto, dukan, 5:2 diets etc. HUZZAH!
Now, starvation mode isn’t necessarily a thing but it does have some level of truth to it (more on that in a minute) There’s this thing, called BMR (basal metabolic rate) which is how many calories you burn at rest – so if you couldn’t move, this is the minimum recommended intake based on your age, height & weight in order for your body to survive. If you take an average 25 year old woman of around 5 foot 3 (160cm) & 11 stone (69kg) her BMR is 1429. Remember BMR IS AT REST, so as soon as she moves she’s above that – if she has an office job, drives & does very little activity – so not a regular gym user for example, her range is more likely to be around 1990. If our average woman wants to lose some weight, going below BMR is not gonna increase her ability to lose that weight, or the speed in which it is lost. Excessive calorie restriction is dangerous.
Starvation mode, in a nutshell is a myth – you won’t stop losing weight, or gaining weight through excessive restriction. This recent article explains in more detail than I will on here, but if you don’t want to read it – any calorie deficit will allow you to lose weight, that weight loss will stop once you hit a body mass that losing any more would result in death. (see: The Minnesota Starvation Experiment)
However, there IS a starvation response – so if you’re doing things that your body doesn’t like, it’s going to respond in any way possible in order to survive. Things like prolonged, excessive calorie restriction and/or extreme amount of exercise will trigger the survival response and in turn will slow down your metabolism – you’ll still lose weight but it will be much, much slower. Your body/brain cannot differentiate between you wanting to look good & you starving to death.
So, this brings me to Brownies. Cake. Cookies. anything that is sugary & delicious. Wanna know something?? Eating one, on occasion is NOT going to reverse whatever calorie restriction you’re following. A “cheeky” packet of crisps is not going to see you balloon to the size of a house overnight. You know what will see you put weight on though? Eating the crisps, the cake, the cookies & the brownies – to excess, regularly & repeatedly underestimating your calorie intake.
The next time someone offers you a cake or something similar – eat the damn thing! It’s not naughty, it’s not cheeky, it’s FOOD and a little bit of indulgence now & then never saw a person suddenly put on a stone. Seriously. STOP demonising food. But also, y’know….don’t eat a whole packet of biscuits in one sitting.