Summer is really close and a lot of people want to drop those kilos they got during winter. This normally comes with calorie counting and food restriction. However, obsessing with calories and restricting them is not the best way to do it and it is far from being healthy.
DOWNSIDE OF CALORIE RESTRICTION:
1. Slows metabolism: when you restrict your calories, you initially lose weight. Then the body starts to adapt to this lower calorie intake. That is why after a period of time eating 1200 kcal or less, it is difficult to see progress. The metabolism has slowed down to match the calorie consumption.
2. Fatigue and nutrient deficiencies: when you’re not eating enough, you are in risk of not getting enough nutrients. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies are possible, especially if you’re restricting an entire food group.
3. Can create unhealthy relationships with food: when restricting calories, food can be seen as the enemy. Food can trigger feelings of anger and guilt. Besides, this behavior can feed emotional eating.
4. Boosts hunger: because your caloric needs are not met, your hormones can be disrupted and release more leptin. Leptin is released during hunger states in order to obtain calories, making you feel hungrier.
It is important to consider that, even if we lose weight when we restrict our calories, the gains are short-term because is not sustainable for a long time. Then, as soon as we start eating normal, our body wants to take back all the calories that it was lacking due to its hunger state. Instead of thinking about diets, the focus should be on a shift of lifestyle. This way all the physical and psychological dangers of calorie restriction are avoided and the results are long term. The mental struggle of knowing that you are on a diet and that if you skip a rule you’ll remorse and feel guilty disappears. Learning how to live a healthier lifestyle. Educating yourself about food and creating a healthy relationship with it, are gains that are going to benefit your overall well-being forever.
ALTERNATIVES TO CALORIE RESTRICTION:
1. Focus on nutrient density instead of calories.
2. Cut process foods and refined sugars.
3. Eat whole foods
4. Learn how to be in tune with your hunger levels
5. Transition slowly
6. Stay hydrated
7. Cut down on soda
8. Eat the rainbow
9. Add healthy fats to your meals to keep you fuller for longer
10. Distinguish between diet and lifestyle
Remember to focus on your why you’re doing this. Learn and enjoy the process. Listen to your body and feel how better it feels when fueled with wholesome foods. Think about a change that will last forever and give you long-term benefits and results over something quick and dangerous.