Any fat burning program you come across will ultimately have you reduce your calories on a consistent basis.
The key words for any weight loss program are consistency and execution.
I have worked with men and women of all ages who will describe what they eat on a daily basis. It will sound like they are definitely in a deficit.
However, due to a slowed metabolism and several cheat meals throughout the week that they “forgot” about, the weight struggles to come off.
This lack of progress creates a negative mental loop that only makes the process that much harder. Falling back into bad habits of eating whatever you want becomes the norm.
All the weight you lost (if you even lost any) comes back before you know it, furthering your depression.
To make matters worse, you might have days where you decide to basically starve yourself. You’ll eat around 800 calories thinking this will help you lose weight.
But, this only makes the process that much harder. Your body will enter into starvation mode. Yes, it’s real. I don’t care what anybody else tells you.
Is Starvation Mode A Real Thing?
What exactly is “starvation mode” you ask? I’m glad to answer your question my fellow truth seeker.
It’s a term that you seen thrown around in the nutrition and fitness world. Because a lot of people have a horrible diet low in proteins and high in carbs, their body loses weight slowly despite being in a caloric deficit.
This is due to the fact that a low calorie diet high in “bad” foods kills your metabolism.
As a result, your body will actually hold onto your body fat stores for as long as possible in order to preserve and protect your organ tissue.
The muscle you have will be used for energy first instead of your fat. Your body would rather strip you of lean mass than the fat you’ve stored.
Again, this is a real thing. I’ve coached people who can’t seem to lose weight even though they’re eating around 800 calories per day.
Your body is an incredible machine. It will try to adapt to any environment you throw it into. If you have been under eating for much of your adult life, it will adjust to this way of living in order to survive.
I personally under ate for several years. As a result, I was “skinny-fat” throughout most of my 20’s. So, this can happen at any age.
Some fitness “gurus” will claim that starvation mode isn’t a real thing. They’ll tell you that as long as you’re in a deficit, you will burn fat no matter what.
They are wrong.
When I hired a celebrity nutrition coach a few years ago, one of the first things he did was fix my gut. You need to turn your stomach into a fat burning furnace.
When you fix your gut by increasing your daily calories with the right foods, you will jumpstart your metabolism within a week or two. Your body will begin to burn fat faster than you can believe.
Accepting the fact that you must eat more to lose weight is one of these factors that a lot of people struggle with.
But, because of the training I’ve done first hand, a woman eating 1800 calories a day can get her body into the 120 pound range and lose 2 pounds of fat per week.
That sounds unheard of for most people. It’s a lot of calories, probably much more than you’ve eaten in a long time.
With the right nutrition and a solid workout plan, you can eat way more than you realize and it will actually help you lose weight quickly than a massive deficit.
Not All Bodies Are Created Equal
The problem with mainstream health advice is that articles are written for the common man and woman.
But, the reality is that what works for one body might not work for yours. Just because someone else can lose 50 pounds eating 800 calories a day does not mean you’ll experience the same result.
There are simply too many factors at play including your overall health, age, metabolism, genetics, stress and so on.
What I can say that will help everybody is eating the right type of foods that fix your gut. When your stomach is operating in an efficient manner, your body will operate to to the best of it’s ability.
It’s important that you do what you can to get your stomach in good health. It’s the second brain in your body. A healthy gut is a fat burning machine.
Better Gut for Better Health
When you have a diet that’s low in protein and high in everything else (carbs and fats), your metabolism will eventually slow down to a crawl.
As a result, your health will begin to deteriorate as well. You’re not getting the right macro and micro nutrients to boost your metabolism and function in an efficient manner.
Like I said earlier, the body is very good at adaptation. It will do what it needs to do to survive and fight off illnesses.
However, it’s no coincident that Americans are more unhealthier and unhappy than ever before. Sure, we may be living longer than any other time before us. But, it’s as if we’re on constant life support with some of the chronic illnesses we walk around with.
Sugar can be incredibly addicting. As can breads and cookies. People have become accustomed to eating foods that taste good instead of eating foods for optimal health.
I want you to change your mentality when it comes to food. Start to view food as fuel instead of a treat. You can still have treats and meals to enjoy, but 90% of the food you consume should be for the purpose of fueling your body.
This single change in your mindset can radically alter your life in a good way.
Ignore this advice at your own peril. You’ll end up 60+ years old slow, lazy, overweight and full of disease if you refuse to accept this new mindset.
This is why anyone new to the lean warrior way of life needs to first focus on fixing your gut. Get those probiotics in daily, those antioxidants, those foods that help your gut operate to the best of it’s ability.
Here’s a small list to get you started:
- Take a probiotic supplement first thing in the morning with a glass of water.
- Cut out breads, tortillas, potatoes, rices and other starches from your diet.
- No more candy/sugary, processed snacks.
- Water (flavored is okay), green tea, coffee only. Don’t drink anything that has calories in it unless it’s a low-calorie probiotic drink (Kevita tonics are best).
- Eat more fruits and green vegetables that are high in fiber
- Eat more protein! You want to consume at minimum 100 grams per day if you’re a woman, 130 if you’re a man.
- Never eat less than 1200 calories per day. You can eat up to 1800 calories per day if you’re working out at least 4 times per week (including interval training).
- Cheat meals are okay, but try to have one cheat meal for every 10 healthy meals.
Not all calories are created equal.
There’s more to it but this list is a great start to fixing your metabolism.
It’s incredibly important that you are working out. You want to have at least 2 days of high intensity interval training (HIIT) for 10-15 minutes. This will get your blood pumping and help “wake up” your slow, dormant metabolism.
Keeping The Fat Off
Once you fix your gut, it’s only a matter of time when you reach a healthy level of body fat.
The next step is keeping the fat off so that it doesn’t return. The problem with crash dieting is that the fat always comes back once you’re done with the diet.
This happens because of several reasons…
Number 1 is that the mentality of a crash dieter is off. He or she is not embracing the healthy Lean Warrior lifestyle.
She’s got a vacation coming up so she needs to lose as much weight as possible. Once the event is over, she’s back to her same old self.
People crash diet to a lack of education. If they only knew that they could keep the fat off for the rest of their lives, crash dieting would never again be a thing.
Therefore, you need to adopt the mindset that food is for fuel, not fun.
Yeah yeah I know… it sucks to think about food that way.
The good news is that you can go ahead and treat yourself every now and then to treats! Butm don’t make it a habit or else you’ll always struggle with weight loss.
As I said above, one cheat meal for every 10 meals you have. This will give you more than enough flexibility in your dieting.
Your mission is consistent weight loss. You will achieve this through a healthy gut and hitting your macros 90% of your meals.
There’s no need for crash diets or these low, 1000 calorie per day meal plans. You are setting yourself up for failure when you commit to these.
If you have a bad case of undereating already, which a lot of Americans do, then you actually want to eat more to kickstart your metabolism.
A healthy gut is a gut that can digest food at an optimal pace. It will have no problem with burning fat while eating a higher amount of calories that you’re used to.
Consistent weight loss cannot happen when you’re not consistently tracking the macros (protein, carbs and fats) that you’re putting into your body 90% of the time.
It will be incredibly difficult for you to sustain any type of weight loss. You’ll always go back and forth between gaining weight and losing weight.
This is why I’m not a fan of any 1200 calorie diets for weight loss. It’s simply too much.
A great example is Nutrisystem. My mom signed up for this program and lost a lot of weight with them.
However, the results were short-lived as the diet was around 1200 calories per day — more than enough to lose weight.
But, because Nutrisystem doesn’t teach you the science behind weight loss and gut health, my mom gained all her weight back in just a few months when she quit the program.
Because the underlying problem was never solved. And, she was undereating for many of these days. She was severely undereating protein and overeating carbs and fats.
This slows down the metabolism and makes it very easy for your body to enter into survival mode.
So How Many Calories Should I Eat Per Day?
As I always say, I don’t believe all calories to be equal.
The first focus of yours should be educating yourself on the science of macronutrients. Learn how a high-protein diet plays a vital role in weight loss.
It’s also very important to focus on eating foods that fix your stomach. A healthy gut is a gut that is efficient at digesting food and using body fat for energy.
This can only happen when you’re eating the right foods.
When you fix your gut, you’ll be surprised at how much you can eat every day and still lose weight. When I first learned about the benefits of a healthy gut, I was losing 2-3 pounds per week on 1500 calories per day.
And, I was already pretty damn skinny! Just goes to show the power behind a healthy gut. I definitely do not cut at 1500 calories anymore, and I never go below 1950-2000 per day with a weight of 155 pounds.
I still lose around 2 pounds per week with this many calories consumed per day.
Changes your mentality about calories. It’s not all cut and dry like others have you believe.
Fix your gut first and you will shed pounds faster than you ever thought possible.
Leave your questions and comments below. Let’s discuss this.