Unfortunately, the worst way to lose weight is also the most common. Don’t make the same mistakes.
Muscle loss…horrible food cravings…metabolic damage…depression…All this and more is possible when you do all the wrong things to lose weight.
We all know someone that has used these terrible weight loss methods, and maybe even have tried a few ourselves.
I want to share with you how to lose weight in the worst possible way, explain why it’s the worst, and help you understand what to do instead.
Step 1: Eat less and starve (Severely restrict your calories)
To lose weight very quickly, and unhealthily, you should severely restrict your caloric intake. (In case you don’t know, a calorie is simply a measurement of energy in food.)
Why is this bad, you ask? Don’t you lose weight quickly when you do this?
Yes, you do…BUT…
- Much of the weight initially lost is water, which goes…and comes…very quickly.When someone loses 2.5 kilos in a week, at least 50%, and as much as 75-80% of it is water, and could actually be gained back within 1-2 days of overeating.
- You also lose muscle, and the less you eat, the more you lose.
- As you lose muscle, your body not only begins to take on that odd “skinny fat look,” but your metabolism slows down, your bone health decreases, and your risk of disease increases.
- You feel progressively worse and worse. Your energy levels go down, you battle intense food cravings, you become mentally clouded and even depressed, and more.
So, while severely restricting calories is great for losing weight quickly…it’s ultimately a bad way to go about losing weight. Much better is to maintain a moderate caloric restriction of about 20% (eat about 80% of the energy your body burns every day). By doing this, you’re able to lose 500gms to 1kg of fat per week while preserving your metabolic health, energy levels, mental balance, and mood.
Step 2: Remain in a Caloric Deficit For Too Long
The longer you remain in a caloric deficit, the more weight you can lose.
But it also means…
- The more your metabolism slows down.
- More muscle you lose.
- The more your body becomes stressed.
- The more your anabolic hormones decrease.
This will create the frustrating situation wherein you are eating very little every day, yet not losing weight anymore.
Generally speaking, I recommend that people diet to lose weight for up to 10-12 weeks at a time, and then increase calories to a maintenance level (eat 100% of the energy your body burns every day) for 2-3 weeks.
Step 3: Don’t Eat Enough Protein
A low-protein diet is great for accelerating muscle loss while in a caloric deficit.
High-protein diets, on the other hand…
- Are more effective at reducing body fat, including abdominal fat in particular.
- Help preserve lean mass.
- Increase satiety, helping you avoid hunger pangs and cravings.
(In case you’re wondering if a high-protein diet is bad for your kidneys, this is a great myth)
Step 4: Don’t Do Any Resistance (Weight) Training
Resistance training while dieting to lose weight preserves, and can even build, lean mass.
This is why it should be part of every weight less regimen, even if you’re not concerned with building your muscles.
You want to minimally retain the muscle you have while you lose fat, and resistance training plus a mild caloric deficit and a high-protein diet accomplishes this.
Step 5: Do a Ton of Cardio
Many people compare cardio with weight loss, and think the more they do, the more weight they lose.
While cardio does help burn calories and thus fat, and while doing more will result in more calories burned, it’s a big mistake to do an excessive amount of cardio while dieting to lose weight.
Why? There are two primary reasons:
- Because your body is already under stress due to the caloric deficit, it’s easier to overtrain when you’re dieting to lose weight. We experience overtraining in several ways: “burnout,” general fatigue, depression, decreased immunity, and more. It’s no fun.
- You’re more likely to experience excessive metabolic slowdown, which can persist long after weight loss is stopped.
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