Metabolic damage is a very real and serious thing that everyone needs to be aware of.
Using the wrong types of diet programs and making poor nutritional choices can really set you up to experience metabolic problems down the road, making weight loss feel nearly impossible.
While the good news is that if you catch metabolic damage early on, you can repair the damage and get yourself to a better place, this doesn’t mean it isn’t a frustrating situation.
And, the longer you remain in a state of metabolic damage, the longer it typically takes you to bounce back.
One of the leading causes of metabolic damage in women is the yo-yo dieting cycle. One minute you’re on the diet, the next minute you’re off. Sound familiar?
If you’ve been on more diets than you can count on both hands, it might be time for a change. Let’s look at how these diets set you up for problems.
The first big issue with these diet plans is they typically have you utilizing a very low number of calories – so low that your body senses starvation might be setting in. Any time you take your calorie intake lower to around your basal metabolic rate (BMR), you are sending a very strong message to your body: It’s time to conserve fuel. Your body is not going to want to burn up body fat in a time when it needs to maintain as much of its long-term energy as possible.
As such, your metabolic rate starts to slow down. While you may have initially lost weight eating 1500 calories, this is no longer the case.
Most women at this point then decrease their calorie intake even lower. Now they’re at 1300. Weight loss kicks up again. Shortly after though, you hit that plateau.
Lower you go. Now you’re at 1100 calories and feeling hungry, frustrated, but at least you are seeing some weight loss results again.
Until a week or two later when that stops. Now you have a real problem on your hands. Can you really take your calorie intake lower? Common sense clearly tells you that you can’t, so now you’re stuck eating a very low amount of food and not losing weight.
Something has to give.
Body Composition Changes
What normally happens at this point is you come off that diet, giving up since it’s clearly not working any longer. At this point, your metabolism is running super slowly and now you are feasting on all the foods you deprived yourself on during the diet.
What does this mean? Right now, you are primed for fat gain. So if you start gaining weight back after coming off that crash, low-calorie diet, you are essentially moving backward.
What’s even worse is during that very low-calorie stint you did, chances are good you lost lean muscle mass. When you take your calorie intake very low, you have a greater tendency to lose muscle, not fat.
After you come off the diet, if you then proceed to gain more body fat, you’ve essentially just seen a “recomposition” take place. Now you may stand at the same overall body weight, but you’ll have less muscle mass and more body fat.
This makes it even harder to lose weight moving forward. Since your lean muscle mass is a big part of what helps keep your metabolic rate up higher, the lesser you have, the slower your metabolism will be.
This is a very frustrating situation to find yourself stuck in and unfortunately, many women do find themselves facing.
If they proceed to do multiple rounds of these yo-yo diets – going on and off diets every few months, the matter will only keep getting worse and worse.
Getting Past The Issue
So what do you do if you are suffering from metabolic damage and want to heal your body? First things first, make a commitment to ditch crash diets forever. Realize this is not the way to get a lean body.
Second, focus on bringing your calories up (slowly!) to its maintenance level. If you do this slowly, your metabolism will begin to adapt, slowly speeding back up to a level that’s appropriate for your body weight and activity level.
Then once you are eating at a reasonable level, hold your calorie intake there for at least a few weeks. Let your body get accustomed to having food again. Once the time has passed, then you can begin using a moderate diet plan where the calorie intake is only slightly restricted.
If you do this, you will be on track to seeing better results and enjoying the fat burning process a lot more as well.