Carey told me before she started ChaLEAN Extreme that her whole life had been spent dieting and a slave to her cardio. She said people always looked surprised when she told them how much she was working out.
Millions of people, and especially women suffer from the consequences of years of trying to restrict calories.
It's perhaps the reason I'm most excited to have people follow this plan (Oprah... are you listening???)
Perhaps the most common complaint I hear from women is "I'm cutting my calories, but I can't live like this and I'm not losing weight like I used to!"
For years people have been told it's simple a numbers game. Burn more than you consume and you'll lose weight. We also often hear this magic number of "1200" calories. But these two notions, though fairly accurate, only tell part of the picture and this picture is drastically different if you are a life time dieter!
Though true, what's flawed in these simple statements (which I too have used to oversimplify a complex machine) is that the body can and does quickly adapt to a diet of excessive deprivation (well below your caloric requirements) and will slow your Basal Metabolic Reate (BMR). In essence, when you dip below your BMR in calories consumed for an extended period of time, you trigger your body to activate "starvation mode". The body, being a well equipped machine finds a way of burning fewer calories than are available. Smart, huh? Frustrating yes! Have you ever watched one of those programs on National Geo TV and wondered how individuals are able to survive on one cup of rice per day, yet do physically demanding work from sun up to sun down and not look like death? I suspect that their metabolisms have simply adjusted. (I'd love to see some research on that subject)
In 2008 I was able to do some research of my own. I worked with 70 test group participants who sought to lose body fat and achieve weight loss. The test was part of my research for ChaLEAN Extreme. In that testing we measured the BMR of each participant, as well as hydrostatic body fat testing of their body composition. Of course all tests were supervised by a physician and we used the gold standard in all areas of testing.
One woman in particular had me worried from the start. She hadn't exercised in over 20 years and told me she had be starving herself and making terrible food choices for years resulting in more and more weight gain. For her stature she was at least 60 pounds overweight. A part of me doubted her when she told me she was "barely eating a thing." I thought.."Yeah right!" That is until I saw the data from her BMR testing. Her BMR was 700 calories a day! What?? No wonder she was putting on weight no matter what she did. We'll call her "Cherrie" to protect her privacy.
I thought it was most ironic to see those who were the largest in the test group also had the slowest metabolism. I had to wonder..."what came first? The slow metabolism or the weight." I know know the answer!
So on day 1, Cherrie was burning only 700 calories a day, starvation by most standards. Her body fat was over 35%! She admittedly hated exercise and explained that most days she tried to avoid eating anything until dinner. She explained she had a habit of picking and snacking to get her through, but always felt hungry and deprived. At dinner she would often over eat, but still tried to restrict her calories. She said she woke up every day feeling exhausted, run down, defeated and depressed. She looked 10 years older than her true age. Despite her attempts to cut calories, her body had learned to accommodate by burning fewer and fewer, making weight gain a certain probability.
Ironically, in our youth, when we have a considerable amount of muscle, our bodies are new an unfamiliar with the rapid weight loss game. Weight loss and weight maintenance are easy! The cycle begins when people try to "diet" their weight off, as opposed to proper nutrition and changing their body composition (i.e. add exercise and muscle). One of the most frustrated groups of individuals are those over 30, 40 and 50 who see that year after year weight loss becomes more difficult. It's not the age...its the body composition that makes dieting difficult.
In doing my research for ChaLEAN Extreme I looked at as many published reports on muscle, body fat, low carb diets, prolonged use of calorie restrictive diets, low cal diets, and the role body composition plays on weight loss and weight gain. What I really wanted to understand is why if consuming fewer calories is supposed to help people lose weight, some people actually begin to see a weight gain after a period of time and some actually find themselves obese!
There's loads of research on the subject if one is willing to look beyond the glossy magazines which print misnomers and half-truths. Perhaps the most convincing of the clinicals studies I read was that reported a marked drop in the metabolism of "restrictive calorie dieters (even in obese women). "The decrease in TSH and free T3 actually blunt energy expenditure in response to long term calorie restriction, thereby frustrating weight loss attempts of obese individuals."
So even though at face value it should seem that if you are consuming less than you are burning, you should be losing weight, the bottom line is this.... If your not providing enough fuel to your body to nearly support your BMR, your BMR will slow accordingly.
So... how do we increase our BMR???
Listen up long term dieters... YOU MUST EAT ENOUGH CALORIES TO SUPPORT YOUR BMR! And it's time to get over it... YOU HAVE TO EXERCISE IF YOU ARE GOING TO CHANGE YOUR BODY COMPOSITION.
It's the only hope you have. Its the truth! And guess what... its really not that bad. Every night I have a battle with my 8 year old daughter to take a shower. "I don't want to! I'm not dirty! I took one last night. I hate getting into the water. I'm cold. I'm tired. I have homework. I'll do it tomorrow." She dreads the thought. But ya know what... when she gets out of the shower, every single night, without fail she always says she feels better.
Get over it people! You are going to have to lift weights! Just 3x a week! And guess what... You're going to feel better! A lot better!
So back to "Cherrie"...What happened after 90 days of eating every 2.5 hours and lifting 3x a week? What happened after we started giving her body the fuel it needed and changing her composition. Well, at first, Cherrie hated it. I would say she hated me for the first two weeks. She even gained a few pounds those first few weeks, but she trusted me and stuck with it! After the 2nd week it was obvious she was losing weight. But weight loss alone wasn't my goal for her. I wanted to change her BMR!
At the end of 3 months we went back to the doctor and tested her again. She had lost over 40 pounds and not one ounce of that was muscle. In fact, in the process of losing fat, she actually gained muscle! We reduced her body fat by over 50%! Huge! We increased her BMR to nearly 1400! That's amazing! Even the doctors were astonished. Most rewarding for me was the day she reported she was now off her blood pressure medication, the depression had lifted and her boys had their old mom back!
I promised "Cherrie" I would put her picture up here, but she's just one example of a person who was able to reverse the slowing process of the BMR. Every single person in our group increased their BMR substantially. The average body fat loss was nearly 40% , with many participants like Leslie (below) losing more than 50% of their body fat.
Is it possible to reverse what you thought was a metabolism
slowing due to your age?
If you do not have the means to have your BMR tested, the key is finding the balance between where you no longer lose weight, but aren't gaining weight. Keep in mind that the average woman will fluctuate up and down between 1 to 3 pounds from week to week. Pick a range, not a number!
When working to increase your metabolism (which is ultimately the goal if you want to eat more and come in a smaller package) remember that muscle is an active tissue. It's requirements are far greater than fat. Fat is this mushy, lumpy, yellowy stuff that requires very little to sustain itself, but takes up a lot of space. Lean muscle tissue on the other hand requires are great deal of calories to sustain. It's firm! It's tight! It's red with blood and healthy tissue that makes life easier and fat burning a breeze! Muscle burns fat! To do this means taking the time to "get it right" and as unpopular as it may be, to know the amount of calories you're consuming per day, at least in this "getting it right" stage.
If you're interested in my new program, please buy it from a coach! You can find them by searching "Team Beachbody Coach", by going to http://www.chaleanextreme.com or from my sister http://www.turbosister.com
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