I remember one of the very first diets I went out.
It was around 1300 calories per day.
All lean meats (and lots of it…actually so much I had to force myself to eat it), very low carb, and very low fat.
I was eating lots of chicken breasts, egg whites, and plain steamed veggies. 😝
And I felt miserable most of the time.
Now I lost weight initially…but after awhile I started to hit a plateau, and then eventually I just fell off the wagon and went back to eating how I was before. I gained back the 20 pounds I lost and added on another 5 right away.
By restricting my calories so much I was setting myself up for failure.
One, because 1300 calories is barely enough for my body to function on. Your body needs a minimum amount of calories each day just to survive…to keep your heart and brain working, to digest food, normal body function stuff like that.
And for me that number was around 1400 (yes, I actually had it scientifically tested out of curiosity). I wasn’t even eating enough to SURVIVE, but didn’t know that at the time!!
So, what did my body do?
It started burning off muscle because muscle uses up A LOT of energy.
So while I got leaner initially and did lose some fat, I lost some hard-earned muscle tone and lowered my metabolism in the process. That 20 pounds wasn’t even all fat!
That’s why I ended up gaining MORE weight back in the long run.
Secondly, there was no way I could have stuck to this plan for longer than I did because I felt like I was barely eating and was constantly hungry.
So, I was guaranteed to fall off the wagon at some point.
And since I hadn’t really created any new habits, I went back to my old way of eating and well my old way of eating got me to where I was when I started.
And so the cycle continued for a few more years. Gaining and losing the same weight over and over again to the point I started wondering what was wrong with me.
Why couldn’t I make it stick?
So surprisingly one of the biggest things that turned things around for me was bumping up my calories from that measly 1300 to closer to 1800-2000.
Yes, it can be scary at first because I thought if I ate more I would just gain more weight.
But surprisingly I didn’t. I started to lose weight again (actual fat weight) and found that sticking to my clean eating plan was SOOOO much easier.
Because I was giving my body the nutrients and fuel it needed I felt so much more energized and fuller.
I discovered the losing weight didn’t have to be about restriction, starvation, or deprivation and that I could actually feel GOOD while I was losing weight instead of miserable.
That was a huge turning point for me and one that’s stuck with me to this day.
So if you’re struggling to lose weight and the old way of restrictive dieting isn’t working, I encourage you to try something different – try bumping up your calories.
Actually, I don’t recommend even going below 1500 or 1600 calories as it’s just going to be too low and every person I’ve worked with that goes much lower in this ALWAYS plateaus or has trouble sticking to their plan.
Weight loss doesn’t have to be a struggle!