Do Low-Calorie Meal Plans Work?
by Rochelle Griffin
Have you ever gone on a “diet” only to find yourself starving in the name of losing weight? I don’t know about you, but I most definitely have. With social media and TV, we are barraged every day with the latest fad to end the obesity epidemic. How do we know what to believe, especially if we’ve been chasing the fantasy of losing 10, 30, 50 lbs or more for years? I am here to help dispel one of the most common myths out there, and it’s going to set you free! Are you ready for this?
Myth: Low-calorie meal plans (below 1200 cal/day for a woman) are the way to shed pounds and keep them off.
Reality: You have to EAT!!!! Period.
There…I said it…and I can hear some of you cheering!
I’m going to put my RN hat on for a moment and explain to you what happens when you don’t eat enough calories. Let’s say you decrease your calories below 1200 cal/day in an effort to lose weight. At first you actually will lose weight and the scale may make you happy, except there is an issue here. Because your body won’t have enough calories to efficiently run, it will turn to your own muscles for the fuel. Yes you will lose weight, but you will also lose muscle (and this includes vital organ muscle.) The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is and the more calories you burn. Likewise, the less that you have results in a slower metabolism and less calories burned.
So, let’s say that you’ve lost weight (AND muscle) on your low-calorie meal plan. You can’t stay on your low-calorie meal plan forever, so guess what happens when you increase your food intake…even if not by a lot of calories? Because you’ve inadvertently slowed your metabolism down due to loss of muscle, you will actually GAIN weight even easier than you did before you started.
In essence, you’ve traded muscle for fat…a faster metabolism for a slower one…all in the name of losing weight. Once you’ve gained weight, you won’t fit into the clothes you want and your body won’t look tight & tone. You get frustrated and start the whole cycle over again…losing even more muscle and slowing your metabolism down even more than the last time. Thus a viscous cycle occurs and it becomes harder each time to lose weight.
Everyone has a basal metabolic rate (BMR.) This is the amount of calories that your body needs per day just to function as though you were sleeping. If you drop below your BMR for an extended period of time, you risk losing muscle. There are a few different ways that you can find out what your BMR is, including Bod Pod testing, hydrostatic body composition analysis, or if you are inclined you can use the following formula:
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) – ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in year )
The formula is the least accurate but will still give you a ballpark range. I had mine tested via the hydrostatic analysis and found that my BMR is 1487. This means that I need to ensure that I eat at least 1487 cal/day. Remember this doesn’t take into account how active I am, so I actually need to bump up my calories even higher or I won’t have energy.
Do NOT be afraid to eat, people. You aren’t doing yourself justice by following a low-calorie meal plan. It’s time to get off the crazy roller coaster and stop hurting yourself. The key is that you are eating healthy foods, not empty calories, to fuel your body. I believe in you. You absolutely can lose weight by eating the right foods. If you aren’t sure where or how to start, I suggest that you grab my FREE 30-Day SlimDown Meal Plan to get you moving in the right direction in a healthy manner.
Now go celebrate your independence! ☺
To Living Your Best Life,
Rochelle Griffin, RN BSN FDN-P
Rochelle Griffin, The Wellness Detective™, is a Registered Nurse (with over 22 years experience) & a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition™ Practitioner who has transitioned her love for fitness, health, & freedom into a 7-figure International company that now helps others live Their Best Life.
She founded Your Best Life, Inc with her husband Keith after stepping onto the edge of physical ruin with her health & the health of their young son. Having experienced a complete turn-around, they now desire to give hope & support to those who are dissatisfied with their current situation.
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