dv1525027A few days ago I was out eating dinner with a few friends, and a question was thrown upon me when they saw how much food that I had ordered. That question was: how do you eat so much without blowing up like a balloon and gaining a ton of weight? Now the friends that I was sitting with were larger guys, who ate way less than I did on a daily basis, but continued to put on weight, and definitely couldn’t lose it no matter how much they dieted and exercised. I tried to answer in the simplest way I could that metabolisms can become slow over time if you consistently don’t feed yourself enough food over a long period of time.

“Metabolic Damage?” 

You may or may not have heard this phrase before if you’re someone who struggles to lose weight. Now I’ve put metabolic damage in quotations because a lot of people are sensitive to the phrase (it’s one of those fitness phrases that often get thrown around) because not everyone agrees with this term yet many people use it without actually knowing anything. Though I don’t agree or disagree with the term, I do however believe that a metabolism can slow down over a period of time due to diet. Some people believe that a metabolism can become “damaged” when a person is continuously in a caloric deficit for a long period of time (often without knowing it), resulting in the slowing down of the metabolism. It’s a natural defense mechanism that the body starts up when you don’t eat enough food. With a slow metabolism, the food that you ingest is more likely to be stored as body fat, instead of getting burned off since fat is the biggest source of fuel for the body.

Do you know anyone who goes through the day eating one or two small meals, and does exercise everyday yet never seems to lose a single pound?

The trap that many people fall into when they want to lose weight is that they often lower their calories significantly more than it already is. Lowering calories means fat loss right? It makes sense. You’re currently eating what you’re eating everyday, and maintaining weight, so if you cut down what you eat, and add in exercise, you should lose weight. Sounds really simple right? But that’s not always how it goes, especially if you go through the day eating when you feel like it, and some days don’t eat at all. That could be a recipe for disaster.

For some people, they are already not consuming enough calories in a day in relation to their physical activity and body weight, yet they drastically lower their calories to even less, and with that they add in intense exercise! It’s true that it’s the simple formula for fat loss, but for a person who doesn’t eat enough calories on a daily basis, their body will freak out. What happens when they’re already not eating enough, and yet continue to cut more calories and add in exercise?  The metabolism will slow to a crawl to conserve energy, they’ll feel like utter crap with the cardio that they’re doing, and often their weight loss journey will end where it began. For some people it will be worse. They have the mindset and will power to get through a whole week, and reward themselves with a “cheat weekend” where they overindulge on pizza, hamburgers, and all the food they’ve wanted to eat during the week.

Just guess what happens when they go from almost no calories during the week to consuming 5000 calories a day on weekends, with a metabolism slower than a snail? You’ve guessed right, the body will store almost everything you eat that weekend as body fat! It’s highly possible to put on 5 pounds of fat over a weekend of eating. I’ve seen it happen. Then on Monday they weigh themselves after a long hard week and have noticed that they’ve gained weight after a long week of working out. They get upset, and they quit, leaving them in a situation that is worse than when they started.

How do you fix a slow metabolism?

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Some people who ask me for a weight loss meal plan are often confused and baffled when I sort out numbers for them and how much food they should eat. Some people don’t follow it at all because they see that the food that they have to eat in a day is significantly more than what they’re used to. How can it be possible to lose weight, when you’re eating more food than you’re already eating? For some people it doesn’t make sense to them, and they disregard my plan altogether. For them, tough luck.

The reason why I get them to start introducing more food into their day is that in order to fix a metabolism that is slow, you first have to reintroduce calories to your body to jump start your metabolism. You don’t want to start from eating 1 or 2 small meals a day to 5-7 meals a day. You will put on weight if you do it like that. The big secret is adding a few couple hundred calories a week until you’ve reached your caloric intake that your body needs to maintain body mass. From there, you can then readjust calories accordingly. If you want to know how much you should be consuming during the day, there are many calorie calculators out there. The problem with doing this is that it takes time for the body to adapt to the calories that you are consuming to be able to regulate it’s metabolism. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before you can notice any changes to your body, and roughly 80% of people just give up in that time frame. But for those who decide to stick it out, it will be well worth it when you see the weight start dropping after a few weeks of eating more and adding in cardio.

Hope this article helps some of you out there who have been struggling with diet and weight loss. See you guys in the next article. Good luck with the weight loss!

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John

John considers himself as a fitness enthusiast who loves to do anything to keep the body in peak physical performance (much like a highly tuned machine). He mainly focuses on sports nutrition and supplement research, but is also highly knowledgeable in relation to muscle growth and fat loss. He's helped numerous people over the years achieve the body that they've always wanted and hopes his information will guide you to the goals you want.

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