Calories In vs. Calories Out? Not so Fast!
By Dr. Rick Kattouf II
One of the most common questions I receive in my business is, “Rick, I do not eat very much and I workout 5-7 days per week; why can I not lose weight?” After an extensive case history and an in depth nutritional analysis, the answer becomes quite clear. Before I reveal the answer, let’s look at an all-too-common situation.
Conventional thinking says that if we need to lose body fat/weight, eating less and working out more is the answer. So, take Sarah’s lifestyle (her name has been changed for privacy). Sarah is over-fat and has been ‘watching’ what she has been eating. She skips breakfast (because eating less will help to burn more calories, right?), eats a ‘big killer salad’ for lunch and a ‘healthy’ dinner. Sarah has adopted a fairly vigorous cycling program 5-7 days per week. As the weeks pass, Sarah sees that she is not losing weight. Well, again, conventional thinking says, ‘eat less.’ So, Sarah decides it is time to step it up a notch. She begins to eat less and also decides to ride even more. As more time passes, Sarah’s frustration is mounting due to the inability to lose weight. She feels like the return (body fat loss) on her investment (time spent exercising) is very poor. What is going on? Sarah must be burning more calories that she is taking in.
The answer to Sarah’s dilemma is that too few calories are being consumed. Now, with that being said, I do not want to give a mixed message. The reality is that at some point, Sarah did over eat and made poor/improper food choices to pack on the additional body fat. Now that the additional body weight has crept up, this is where the ‘too few calories’ is problematic. By Sarah exercising heavily and putting herself in too large of a caloric deficit each day, she has threatened her body. When the human body is threatened, it will respond quickly in order to rectify the situation. At this point, Sarah’s body will significantly slow its metabolism in order to offset the calorie deficit. Yes, her body has plenty additional fat stores, but this does not take precedence; what does take precedence is how the body is being fueled. In summary, Sarah is shutting her own body down, slowing her metabolism, and greatly affecting her ability to burn excess body fat. How can Sarah get a better return on her investment?
When Sarah and I begin working together, I explained the physiology of the aforementioned scenario. The key for Sarah is to “Stoke the Fire” within her body. She needs to jump start her metabolism. How is Sarah going to stoke her fire? To accomplish this, Sarah must EAT! That’s right, eating (the proper foods, of course) is how Sarah will significantly increase her metabolism. I empathize with individuals like Sarah because I realize how awkward this can sound; eat more to lose? For Sarah, her biggest hurdle is being able to wrap her mind around eating more.
As Sarah begins to follow the meal plans as prescribed, she quickly notices that eating more is bringing great results…and she feels so much better on the bike. Sarah has just created a positive feedback loop (when she eats more, as prescribed, she loses weight/body fat, and has more energy on the bike and during the day). After thirty pounds of body fat loss, Sarah now has a better return on her investment.
If you find yourself (or you know someone) in a similar situation to Sarah, there is a good chance you may not be eating enough calories. Eat more to lose weight? You betcha!
Best-Selling Author and Fitness & Nutrition expert Dr. Rick Kattouf has been named one of America’s PremierExperts® and one of the World Fitness Elite™ Trainers of the Year. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates around the country as well as in the USA Today, Chicago Tribune and The Independent in the UK. Rick is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf, Inc., CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf Nutrition LLC, Creator of TeamKattouf Nutrition Supplements, Host of Rx Nutrition, author of Forever Fit, Creator of 5-Round Fury Fitness™ workout app, Sports Nutrition Specialist, ITCA Triathlon Coach, MMA Conditioning Coach, Food Psychology Coach, Wellness and Nutrition Consultant, Sports Nutrition Consultant, Heart Rate Performance Specialist, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. Rick can reached at www.teamkattouf.com or www.5roundfury.com or [email protected]