What’s that I hear?
You want to lose weight?
STOP! No, you don’t want to lose weight.
Below I’ll explain why losing weight can be both counter-productive (meaning you’ll ending up getting fatter), and how it can also be disastrous for your health.
You want to burn fat and improve your body composition.
I know it’s partly just a matter of semantics. I get that, when people say that they want to lose weight, what they often really mean is that they want to burn fat.
However, losing weight and burning fat too often are conflated and people literally measure their weight as the one single metric for success.
Get off the scale!
If you’re stepping on the scale and measuring your weight as your main measure of success, then do yourself a favor and stop NOW.
Instead, pick up a simple tape measure and wrap it around your waist.
Or take a full-body picture in front of the mirror in your underwear.
Better yet, go get a DEXA scan so that you get an accurate measure of your body fat.
What’s the fastest way to lose weight?
That’s easy… Cut off one of your legs!
This may sound crazy but when people crash diet by chronically restricting calories, they may be doing more damage to their bodies than if they did amputate!
What’s the next fastest way to lose weight?
Yes, this does work and it can work well if it’s done right.
In fact, a man lost 276 pounds of weight by fasting for a whopping 382 days under medical supervision.
That’s right, fasting can be very effective as a way to lose weight in a healthy and safe way.
(You can learn more about easily burning fat by joining the 5-day Formula.)
But this article isn’t about fasting, it’s about what most people do when they want to lose weight…
STOP crash dieting!
When most people want to lose weight, what do they do?
They “go on a diet”, which is often code for crash dieting by chronically restricting calories.
And guess what happens?
They lose weight!
Great, mission accomplished! Right?
Not so fast…
What should you do?
Instead of losing weight…
You want to burn fat…
…and improve your overall body composition.
Throw out your scale and stop trying to lose weight.
Instead, pick up a tape measure, snap some photos of yourself and make your goal better body composition.
But, if you do try losing weight by chronically restricting calories, here’s what you’re in for…
Congrats, you’ve lost weight!
You step on the scale every day and see the weight coming off.
Unfortunately you’re on your way to being “skinny-fat” with a host of health issues when you crash diet by chronically restricting calories, things like…
1_ You lose lean body mass and muscle.
If you’re chronically restricting calories, a good amount of the weight you’re losing is lean body mass. That means you’re losing muscle too!
Unfortunately this has a cascading effect of even more health issues…
2_ Your metabolism drops.
Having a high metabolism is a good thing if you want to burn fat and improve your body composition.
One of the best indicators of a high metabolism is the amount of lean body mass on your body.
If you’re crash dieting, you’re losing lean body mass and therefore dropping your metabolism, which makes it more difficult to burn fat.
3_ Your hormones go haywire.
Because you’re not getting enough food, your body goes into what’s commonly referred to as “starvation mode”.
This means that you’re not a likely candidate for reproduction so your sex hormones (like estrogen and testosterone) will drop while your stress hormones (like cortisol) will increase.
Over time, it can be difficult for your body to recover from these hormonal shifts.
4_ You store more fat.
You store fat more easily, that is.
Because you have sent the signals to your body that you’re starving, your body is now more efficient at using the food you eat, meaning you’ll store more fat.
5_ You’re tired and irritable.
When you diet, you are likely depleting your glycogen and water stores which can make you feel tired and irritable.
Crash dieting can also trigger the release of corticosterone from the brain making you more stressed, irritable and at risk of depression.
This may also lead you to a lack concentration, focus and sleep.
6_ You obsess over food.
You’re at increased risk for disordered eating.
If you’re chronically restricting calories, you are likely developing a harmful relationship between you and food.
7_ You’re more likely to get sick.
You’ve likely compromised your immune system due to a lack of nutrition from restricting calories.
More specifically, when you remove fat from your diet, you’re not going to absorb fat-soluble vitamins – like vitamins A, D, E and K.
These vitamins help to support your immune system so, without them, you’re at greater risk of getting sick.
8_ (bonus) You damage your hair and skin quality.
Similar to needing vitamins and nutrients to boost your immune system, you also need vitamins and nutrients for your hair and skin health.
What can you do to burn fat and improve your body composition?
You can restrict calories.
Just don’t do it all day, every day, for weeks on end.
A general rule of thumb is to restrict calories several days out of the week, primarily on days when you’re not training or exercising.
The goal is to have metabolic flexibility – so that your body adjusts and adapts to both food deficits and food surpluses.
Practice some form of fasting.
As mentioned above, one effective way to achieve this metabolic flexibility is to practice fasting, like we do in the 5-day Formula, where you’ll learn to burn fat forever.
What’s YOUR experience with dieting?
What’s worked well for you?
What hasn’t worked so well?
Share below in the comments!