We have all heard of the ‘get lean, drop 10kgs in 4 weeks’ kind of diets that promise quick results, but are these options really the best way of keeping the weight off after its over?
Maintaining the body you’ve just starved yourself for can be challenging for the best of us. Very Low Calorie Diets can in fact help us shred body weight really quickly but more often than not it is often muscle that is compromised in the process as well. I know what the majority of the ladies are thinking “I don’t want too much muscle anyway” but maintaining muscle mass is what will help you on your way to long term weight loss and weight management.
Let me explain – We’ve all heard of BMR which stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. This simply means the minimum amount of calories your body needs to stay alive excluding any physical exercise and includes the energy needed to keep your muscles active, to digest food and to keep all your vital organs working efficiently.
Lets say your bodies minimum calorie requirements (BMR) are 1500 calories per day and you start a ‘lose 10kgs in 4 weeks’ body challenge. If you lose 10kgs over the 4 weeks what happens is when your body loses more than approximately 0.5kgs per week you’re at real risk of losing precious muscle tissue. You lose 10kgs but 5kgs of that may be body fat whilst the other 5kgs may be muscle tissue. Our muscles require energy day to day even when they are not exercised we burn calories to support muscle tissue. By losing 5kg of muscle tissue in 4 weeks, even though you have lost 10kgs all up, this will automatically reduce the number of calories your body now needs to maintain your body weight, and as a result your bodies metabolism suffers and slows down.
Your daily calorie needs to maintain weight may have started at 1500 calories per day but because 5kgs of muscle has been lost due to your new starvation diet you may have just decreased your daily calorie needs down to something like 1200-1300 calories per day.
What does this mean? Your excited because you now weigh 10kgs lighter! But you now in actual fact need fewer calories to maintain your new body weight. Meaning your weight management journey has been made more difficult as you can only eat 1200-1300 calories per day to maintain.
So thinking, ‘I’ll just go back to eating healthier’ or ‘I’ll eat what I was eating before I started the diet’, will in fact cause a lot of us to regain the weight as our metabolism has now slowed down, changed and our muscle mass is now working against us to maintain this new body.
Weight loss is a goal for most of us but we want that weight loss to be fat loss not muscle loss as well. Take a little more time when you decide to lose weight. Even though this will take you longer and you will have to be a little more patient with yourself, it will work to your advantage for overall weight management. We don’t just want to lose weight, we want to keep it off for good! Whether you’re a man or a woman, lean muscle is important and plays a big role in our metabolism.