Ahmad Chehade, PharmD. Candidate
“New year, new me!” Sound familiar?
A common term tossed around throughout the month of January. Setting short-term goals, creating a vision, and being motivated are key to achieving our goals throughout the new year. However, failing to come up with a plan of action is usually the cause of our fallout.
Right idea, wrong execution
We all desire to be in our optimal physical shape. Whether that may be for performance in sport, getting ready for a holiday, or simply fitting into those pants you really want to buy! We all have our own reasons and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, at the end of the day being healthy should truly be your end goal.
Like the first day after Halloween for dentists, the 2nd of January is a happy time for many gym owners, as the “New Years Resolutioners” are coming. Now, from my experience, it’s not the lack of discipline or motivation or even enthusiasm that causes a lot of these newcomers to stop coming, but more so a lack of result. Why is that? Why do so many people not achieve results after putting in those hours in every day?
Well, the truth is, people have usually shot themselves in the foot by day 1 of their resolution. The common misconception of “I won’t eat much so that I can lose weight” is a very ancient and in somewhat, dangerous way of thinking. Like the story of the tortoise and the rabbit “slow and steady wins the race”.
Let’s touch on what the effects of starvation on the body can do, then move into some simple tips on how one may appropriately transition into eating towards their goals.
Skipping Meals and Fat Storage
Anyone who wants to shed a few pounds knows that caloric restriction is a fundamental approach to this, but how much and how fast we should restrict calories is crucial. A study shows that skipping meals can not only lead to abdominal fat gain, insulin resistance in the liver, but also a tendency to develop habits such as “binge eating”.
“This does support the notion that small meals throughout the day can be helpful for weight loss, though that may not be practical for many people,” Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University, said in a statement. “But you definitely don’t want to skip meals to save calories because it sets your body up for larger fluctuations in insulin and glucose and could be setting you up for more fat gain instead of fat loss.”1
In addition, researchers from the Oregon Research Institute (ORI) produced findings that suggest limiting the number of calories you take in will actually strengthen your appeal to unhealthy food. In fact, the longer you’re able to limit caloric intake, the more you’ll binge when you do eat2. This suggests that elective caloric restriction increases the degree to which brain regions implicated in reward valuation and attention are activated by exposure to palatable foods, as Dr. Eric Stice, senior scientist at the Oregon Research Institute.2
There is so much out there, what should I really focus on?
At the end of the day, there are so many weight loss/performance enhancing meal regimens from paleo, keto, intermittent-fasting, clean-eating, ‘if it fits your macros’ (IIFYM). The truth is there is truly no “right” way to go about it. They all produce results, but sustainability is key – you must be able to make this a lifestyle rather than a “diet” regimen.
Knowing your average daily caloric intake is a great starting point to helping with your journey to reach your goals. Having this number allows you to evaluate your typical day (eating and exercise combined) and realize how you should change your eating habits before taking that next step to caloric restriction. As well, it allows you to determine if you really need to start cutting calories just yet, especially if you begin exercising, which in many instances requires people to look at their daily nutritional intake entirely different.
There is so much more I would love to dive into, but for the sake of time and how customized nutrition really is, I cannot.
Feel free to comment or email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any more questions or would like to discuss this topic more!
- Kliewer K, Ke J, Lee H, Stout M, Cole R, Samuel V et al. Short-term food restriction followed by controlled refeeding promotes gorging behavior, enhances fat deposition, and diminishes insulin sensitivity in mice. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. 2015;26(7):721-728.