You’ve probably seen the ad or heard a friend, family member, or co-worker say that they started eating more and lost weight.
It’s kinda backwards, you’re supposed to cut calories to lose weight, right? If this was possible, why don’t all diets make you eat more?
Like most things in the body, it isn’t black and white, so let’s go over how this works and how our gym in West Chester, PA has success with this.
The first thing to go over is NEAT.
No, it’s not just a word you say when you’re trying to ignore a six-year-old telling you a story. NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.
NEAT is the calories you burn during the day outside of your workout routine. Walking, cleaning, taking the stairs, etc. all are part of NEAT.
So why is this important?
When you eat very low calories and then go crush a workout, are you going home and cleaning or gardening for 6 hours? Or do you crash on the couch or take a nap?
The body is really good at NOT using energy. So when you use up a ton of energy in a workout and don’t eat enough to recover,
your body will try to decrease energy elsewhere to balance things out. If you try to push through that, it will keep getting worse until you’re burned out or you get an injury.
However, when you eat just enough to be in a slight calorie deficit, this doesn’t happen. You can still crush a workout, recover, and have energy to take the dog for a walk, clean the house, or garden.
Don’t do those things?
You will unconsciously start making easier exercise decisions.
You park closer to a building, you will take an elevator or escalator instead of the stairs, you’ll binge on Netflix laying on the sofa instead of doing other activities.
Want to increase your NEAT? Start doing those things everyday.
Now, this doesn’t mean to go out and down a pizza. You need to be in a slight calorie deficit, which means 200-500 calories below your baseline. We’ll go over how to estimate that in a future post.
The takeaway here is to not cut your calories so drastically because you want to lose 25 pounds in a month. You want to slightly cut calories, workout hard, and keep doing your other activities so that you lose 25 pounds in three months and keep it off forever instead of putting on 15 pounds like the person who did it a month will end up doing.