You have to eat enough calories

The fitness world has you thinking that you have to eat 1200 calories and workout like crazy for you to loose weight and be healthy.

There are so many diets out there that push you to cut calories and follow their plan.  Without you knowing you can fall into a trap of not eating enough for your body.

Here is what I mean – your body burns a base amount of calories just with you sitting here and breathing.  You have to have that amount of calories or food to maintain your metabolism and to function.  Now if you move at all above just sitting here and breathing then you burn more and this goes up if you also exercise.

If you cut your intake of food down to 1200 calories per day and your body needs 1500 calories to function, you are creating a bad deficit.  You are no longer providing enough calories for your basic bodily functions and this can send your metabolism into starvation mode or slow down your metabolism.

A few years ago I started using My Fitness Pal to track my food and exercise.  I input my height, weight and activity level (how I am at work) and it told me my calorie target was 1500 calories.  Now I would add on at least 100 calories for every hour of exercise that I did in addition to just walking around.   Now I was not perfect but there were days I would hit my target perfect.  I thought I was doing great.  I am not going after My Fitness Pal, it’s a good tool but it’s just picking a target calorie amount based on a standard for your height and weight.  If you are like me – very active – then this may not be a good/enough food for your body.

After a year or so of following the recommended calorie target from My Fitness Pal, I got the opportunity to do Hydrostatic body fat testing.  I got my test through http://www.bodyfattest.com/ .  What this test is – it uses water to determine the amount of body fat and muscle in your body.

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Hydrostatic – relating to fluids at rest or to the pressures they exert or transmit; “hydrostatic pressure”

  When you think hydrostatic, just think water. Water has a very specific density.  When you are weighted underwater your density can be measured and comparing this to your dry weight we can very accurately determine how much is lean and how much is none lean mass.  This ratio is what we call your “body fat percentage”.

This test told me –

Your analysis will include a four-page report showing:

  • Your body fat and lean mass percentages and weights

  • How your percentage body fat compares to others

  • How much fat, if any, needs to be lost in order to reach your composition goals

  • Basal metabolic rate—how many calories/day you burn without exercising

  • Personal caloric intake and expenditure chart—how many calories/day you burn when doing various exercises and activities

  • Historical readings and progress, if more than one test has been taken

 

DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT TOLD ME?????  That my resting metabolic rate was 1691 calories.  So sitting here and doing nothing I burn 1691 calories.  That’s more than what My Fitness Pal told me.  Now mine was not as low as it could be for some and with all of my exercising, I have been eating more than this anyway.  But it tells a BIG story – that you have to eat a lot to maintain your body, be healthy, and loose weight.  Yes I have been loosing weight by eating MORE!

Ok so couple things – you may ask what does the test involve?

It’s simple, you wear a bathing suit or something you can get wet.  You climb into a water tank.  They put a small weight on your back and you hold your breathe for just a few seconds.  That’s it.  The technician leads you through all the steps and no it doesn’t hurt.

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So this test told me that I have more muscle mass than the average person of my height and weight.  That’s why I need more calories to maintain and keep my metabolism healthy.

So here are my takeaways:

  1. the diet industry has the population thinking you have to eat too little to actually loose weight
  2. If you follow these recommendations then you are eating too little and will either fail and quit your plan or do damage to your metabolism and make it slow down.
  3. If you have the opportunity to get your body fat tested, then do it.  Yes it tells you how much fat you have.  So what!!  It told me how much muscle mass I have and that I need to eat higher than recommended amounts for me to fit and healthy.

I am not paid by either of these companies.  I use the free My Fitness Pal app so that I can track my daily food log.  For me it’s easy and I’ve done it for years so it’s almost second nature.  I have paid to have my body fat tested with this company and plan to redo my test in the short future as I can.

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One response to “You have to eat enough calories

  1. Pingback: Restriction is not the key!!! That word Moderation is!! | this mom's gotta run·

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