The Fat Loss Formula
What is the fastest way to lose fat?
For anyone that has discussed fitness with me or yet any of the Catalyst Health & Fitness professionals for that matter, you’ll likely know that before we answer your question we’ll typically lace it into a few more questions. More specificaly with one.
What’s your goal?
Are you interested in looking your best this coming weekend, as you’ll be wearing a sleeveless dress? Are we prepping for the beach a few months from now or talking about quickly winning a long uphill battle you’ve faced with body weight fluctuation?
Even though your goal may indeed be any of the above and although I am not much of a gambling man, I would bet on the fact that you won’t want to forfeit your results once you’ve finally achieved them.
Unfortunately, that is exactly what is going to happen.
Now the wrestler in me know this all to well. When one drops rapid weight (greater than 1-2lbs per week) the body initiates all sorts of defensive mechanisms that attempt to prevent you from further losing weight in fear of starvation. Think about it... how many times have you successfully lost a few pounds early in your dieting stages but quickly saw that come to a screeching halt?
This not only temporarily decreases your metabolism but if done enough times and for long enough duration, could cause serious long-term metabolic damage. Now what does that mean? Well in short, metabolic damage is your body’s inability or difficulty to effectively consume a higher or "normal" calorie range than it was genetically once able to. This is often seen when people excessively “diet” with drastic calorie deficits or excessive cardio routines (yes I said too much cardio could be bad for weight loss). When this metabolic damage or lower metabolic threshold occurs, not only does your metabolism slow but your appetite increases and your energy levels pummel. To top it off, metabolic damange typically requires as long if not longer to repair than it took to create. Which means, if you “strict dieted” for 6 months; it will likely take just as long with a slow gradual increase in calories to repair it.
Now before we go condemning our body and it’s natural protective instincts let’s remember that it’s soul purpose is survival and without such protective measures many of our ancestors would have never survived their lifestyle challenges such as famine and failed hunts.
So although we wish our body could understand us and join the battle in expelling the evil fatty cells from our waist line, we would gain more ground by understanding our body’s obsessive search for homeostasis and working with it, by feeding it nutrients it needs while challenging it physically to change but not enough to scare into defense.
To sum this rant up into some focus points:
Find a flexible eating and workout pattern that fits your lifestyle, allowing you to lose between 1-2 pounds per week at most without worrying about your body’s natural fluctuating of 1-2% of it’s weight on a daily basis. For a male this means never consuming below 1500 calories per day while women should never see the south side of 1200.
These calorie ranges are meant as a guide to the absolute lowest they should ever be and that with a modest workout program. If your trainer, coach or “fit friend” recommends that you apply this low calorie-eating plan (or lower) with hours of cardio per day or week… do as one of my favorite fitness references would say (Dr. Layne Norton) and stand up and run from them as hard as you can in the opposite direction.