I say it all the time to my Weight Watchers members: you need to eat to lose weight. It’s so true.
Trust me when I say I’ve tried eating less to lose more weight. I’ve tried exercising more and not eating extra to see a bigger weight loss. Both times I’ve failed. Either I’ve hardly lost anything, or I’ve gained weight.
The simple trust is, your body needs food. It needs energy to get through a day, and that energy comes in the form of calories.
That doesn’t mean you need to overeat. To lose more weight you still need to create a calorie deficit. We’re all in agreement there! You can still do that when you eat more.
What Happens When You Don’t Eat Enough?
I’m sure many of you are doubting my logic here. Eating less will mean you lose more weight, right? I mean, anorexics don’t have a problem being overweight.
Well, this is the difference. I’m talking about short term goals. Anorexia is an eating disorder that I’m not going to get into—I’m not qualified for that. What I am going to say is that this is long-term damage to the body.
When it comes to the short-term, if you don’t eat enough your body starts to panic. It thinks it won’t get enough energy, so starts storing the calories it does have. Your metabolic rate slows down, and that means you start gaining. This happens whether you exercise or don’t to lose more weight.
You need to eat the basic number of calories (or pro points in terms of Weight Watchers) that your body needs.
How Much Do You Need to Eat?
The NHS recommends 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 calories for men on a daily basis. That’s actually quite high, but does factor in someone doing 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week.
Based on experience, my body needs no more than 1,800 calories per day just to break even; to stay the same. So I need a little less than that. WebMD has a great table to give you a rough idea of how manycalories you’ll need.
You only need to eat 500 fewer calories a day than your body needs to see a weight loss of around 1-2lb per week. That’s not actually that much, is it? Put it in perspective of food, beans on toast (with two slices of bread) is around 300 calories!
Surely with that logic, you can eat less and lose more weight.
Well, this is the fun part. I’m really sorry that I can’t remember or find the source now, but I read somewhere that the body needs 1,200 calories at a bare minimum to lose weight. This sounds about right, since you can cut your calorie intake by 500 calories a day to lose 1-2lb per week. If you eat anything less than that, the body is going to start panicking.
Why Isn’t Exercise Working?
Surely if you exercise, you’ll lose more weight, right? Well, again it all comes down to eating enough. You’re burning more calories, so you run the risk of creating too much of a deficit.
It’s important to eat healthy, nutritious snacks if you’re going to exercise. Some ideas include nuts, fresh fruit (especially bananas) and some pasta dishes.
With Weight Watchers, you earn pro points for all the activity you do. Track it all and work out just how many you’re earning. If you earn more than around 40 pro points, you will want to consider eating more to lose more weight.
Food is your friend; it’s all about choosing the right food. You do need to eat to lose more weight. Starving yourself isn’t just unrealistic and unhealthy, but is actually halting your weight loss.
Are you struggling to lose more weight? Please leave a comment in the blog and I’d love to help you out. You can sign in as anonymous or put a fake name if you’re worried about people seeing your weight loss struggles.