We’ve been told that calories in versus calories out is how-weight-works.
“Eat less than you expend and you’ll lose weight”.
But this is what really happens:
“Eat less that you expend and you’ll lose weight at first, but then you’ll gain it all back and think it’s your fault- but it is actually because your body will compensate your metabolism in order to keep your weight stably around the same place, because biologically that is how we have survived as a species during all those years when food wasn’t as easy to ensure or come by.”
I understand that it’s a mind trip after the simplicity of calories in vs calories out.
Because first few times you dieted, I bet you really did lose weight easily. Then, when you gained it back, you were sure it was your fault. But it wasn’t. Your body made sure that that happened. And it even wanted you to go a bit ABOVE where you started, just for good measure.
But now you’re convinced that if you can just do it like you did the first time, you’ll lose weight again, but THIS time you’ll keep it off. This time you’ll do it right. This time you’ll succeed and be beautiful and happy foreverrrrrrrrrrrrr.
But it’s harder to do now because your body isn’t having any of this shit. You’ve already pressed your luck, and now your body is fighting back harder.
And even if you happen to muster the willpower to override your body’s efforts to make you eat and keep on weight, and even if you actually do lose weight again, your body will immediately lower your metabolism and make you expend less in order to eventually bring your weight back up. It will also wire you to crave more food than you ever would have wanted under normal eating and metabolic conditions.
It should be noted that increasing exercise will have the same effect. The body will encourage rest to make up for your exertion. And if you force more exertion, it’ll just slow down your system altogether.
There’s a good reason why Michael Phelps ate 12,000 calories a day. That’s what extreme exercise requires. (And it’s also around the amount that men rehabilitating from semi-starvation ate after the Minnesota Starvation Experiment.)
So, for any of you who thinks that weight is just a matter of decreasing your consumption, and are confused and frustrated that it’s not working anymore… it’s just because your body wants you to chill the eff out and start eating normally again.
It also wants you to put on weight.
You know why? Weight is actually healthy. Letting yourself gain weight actually is the only way to heal your metabolism.
Paradoxically, once you stop trying to control your appetite, and finally eat whatever it wants (even if that’s a LOT), it’ll heal. It’ll speed up. It’ll trust that there is food. And that is the surest way to have a healthy stable weight for you.
Bring on the calories.