Monday, October 31, 2005

Weight Loss Stalled by Low Calorie Diets

Often in my blog I write about the importance of losing weight while eating an adequate calorie intake - that is enough calories to support basal metabolic rate (BMR) to thwart the body's reduction (conservation) in energy requirements to just function. I also repeatedly warn it is critical while losing weight to do everything possible to ensure an adequate intake of essential nutrients too!

We're bombarded with advice to restrict calories - too often to starvation levels - and then blame the dieter if they complain about hunger, find it difficult to continue the starvation voluntarily, or - heaven forbid - lose the weight and then resume eating what should be a normal intake of calories and gain weight!

In today's Statesman Journal, an interesting article is found, "You can't measure self against TV show dieters," that discusses the reality of weight loss in the real world versus what we see on television shows like NBC's The Biggest Loser.

Within the article is the truth - if you reduce calories too much, your "metabolism will slow to a screeching halt!" With the end result being that "...when you try to eat normal again, you will gain more weight than you lose because your metabolism won't be able to handle it."

Missed was the opportunity to provide good advice to someone losing weight.

Once the author stated that too few calories spell disaster, no other advice was forthcoming to help someone figure out how many calories they should eat while trying to lose weight!

So, here it is - you have to eat enough calories to support your body's basic calorie requirements to just function - that is to just "be" before you include any activity in your day, before you do anything as simple as get out of bed.

I recently found a good online calculator - Diet Calculator - that uses a number of criteria to estimate your calorie requirements when losing weight: current weight, height, gender, measurements to neck, waist and hips, along with activity level. The results include BMI, a weight-to-height ratio, ans estimates of body fat percentage and lean body mass percentage. What I really like about this calculator is that it also provides estimates of calorie requirements to include as a MINIMUM when you're trying to lose weight. The estimate is based on the calculated Basal Metabolic Rate, which is what your body absolutely needs to avoid starvation mode. The other nice thing with this calculator is that it's free to use and includes an explanation of each result and recommendation provided.

While calories are indeed part of the equation to weight loss, it is also critical to ensure that you are providing your body with the essential nutrients it requires each day too! Without adequate intake of the fundamental vitamins, minerals, trace elements, essential fatty acids and essential amino acids (protein) each day, your body cannot work at an optimal level. Missing key nutrients is like trying to build a house without enough supplies or the right tools. It is for this reason I strongly encourage designing your weight loss diet with whole foods that are nutrient-dense. As a "safety net" a good multi-vitamin and essential oils can be included - but first and foremost must be the quality of foods you eat - whole foods that are rich with nutrients.

1 comment:

  1. Regina, the message you're sending is great. NutrientRich is the new trend in eating for better health, weight loss and great tasting food. If you're not getting the nutrients you need to succeed, your health, energy and fitness simply suffers. None of the nutrients we need are optional.

    Great posts –

    Let’s link up.

    John Allen Mollenhauer
    The Nutrient Rich Revolution. Eat Better, Not Less!