This is my second rant of the week. I must be feeling sensitive!
Would you compromise your health for aesthetics?
On the face of it, I would imagine that the vast majority of you would say no. Of course not, what's the point of looking great but being unhealthy.
Well, this is what I see people doing daily, desperate in their quest for weight loss.
What's even more frustrating, is so-called fitness professionals who are willing to offer advice or construct exercise and nutrition plans that are MAKING YOU UNHEALTHIER THAN WHEN YOU STARTED!
Now, I know that you might be thinking ‘but I’ve lost weight, Jack’.
I know, but at what cost?! Lets look at extreme calorie deficits. We would regard this at anything above about 20% calorie deficit, or in other words, consuming more than 20% less that your body requires. Anybody who follows us will understand that a calorie deficit is essential for fat loss, but we’re usually talking around 10% with a more aggressive weight loss being around 20%.
Anything more than that is DANGEROUS!
So, what are the risks? Read to the end…
1) Effects on Energy
We get our energy from the food we put in to our bodies, and insufficient food will lead to insufficient energy. That lack of energy is going to affect our day to day life; the way we play with our children, the hours and effort we put in to our work, the attention that we can give our loved ones, our sex drive… The list goes on.
It will also have a severe effect on your ability to exercise – not great if you’re hoping to get fitter, stronger and leaner.
2) Nutrient Density
In most cases, when we severely restrict our calories, it becomes far more difficult to consume sufficient nutrient dense foods and so we lack the vitamins and minerals that our bodies require to function properly and efficiently.
3) Lowered Immune System
Although not a lot of research has gone in to this for non-exercising individuals, people who severely restrict their calories and exercise intensely have been shown to be twice as likely be become ill with viruses such as the common cold.
4) Reduced Fertility
An extreme calorie deficit will have an effect on your hormones. This is especially the case in women. This will affect your mood, your energy levels, your menstrual cycle and has been proven to have a negative effect on fertility.
Studies have shown that reproductive function is supressed in women who consume 22 – 42% fewer calories than required.
Gentlemen, you’re looking at reduction in testosterone, your sex hormone, leading to;
Low sperm production
Loss of muscle mass and strength
Poor fat distribution
Reduction in bone density
5) Decreased Done Density
Low calories lead to low estrogen and testosterone. A reduction in these hormones is shown to decrease bone formation and increase bone breakdown, leading to a higher risk of fractures.
6) Lower Your Metabolism This is, in my opinion, the biggie, and the reason that I get so frustrated with a small segment of the fitness industry.
Of course, you lose weight when on an extreme deficit. You’re starving yourself.
But what about when you start eating normal number of calories again? Or even increase your calories to leave you in a smaller calorie deficit? This is when you’re in trouble. Eating such low calories has caused your metabolism to slow down and become less efficient.
A low-calorie diet has been shown to decrease the number of calories the body burns by more than 20%!!
Meaning that when you start eating again, which you will because you can’t sustain low calorie diets forever, you will gain weight 20% faster than before!
This is something that weight loss clubs and many fitness professionals rely on, to keep you coming back time after time, remarketing your short-term results.
These are the professionals that are praying on your insecurities and that are single handily ruining the fitness industry.