If you haven’t already read Is Fat Loss Wrecking Your Metabolism Part 1 do that before continuing so that you understand some of the methods we are discussing today.
As a quick recap of Part 1 we discussed how the typical way of dieting actually slows down the metabolism and damages health.
When eating less for an extended period of time body adapts to less calories coming in by expending less calories. The body responds to the perceived starvation by burning up hard earned muscle.
Because muscle is an energy expensive tissue to maintain the body will burn it up, carrying more muscle mass require more calories which are scarce these days.
Now that the metabolism has slowed, and muscle is being burned up the body will store calories more readily as body fat to keep energy in storage.
This is why many people become frustrated with the process of losing body fat. They have been told to count and reduce calories while exercising more which works for a period of time. Eventually the metabolism adapts to the lack of calories coming in.
Now that the metabolism has adapted by slowing down, fat loss comes to a complete stop. Dropping calories even further and exercising more is like throwing gasoline on the fire.
If you continue on this same path for a long enough period of time without changing the approach it will lead to burned out adrenal glands and hypothroid (underfunctioning thyroid).
The Different Stages Of Metabolic Adaptation
The longer people continue on this path of eating less and exercising more the more potential there is for them to do damage if they don't pay attention to the signs. This causes changes in the nervous, digestive and hromonal systems.
Because there are different levels of damage people have done to their metabolism it is important to know where you are to use the correct strategy to repair the problem.
Stage 1: Metabolic Adaptation
You have started to eat less and exercise more for a week or so in and you’re losing weight and feeling better about your new habits.
Fast forward a few more weeks on the same path and you start to notice that you are much hungrier, your energy has taken a dip and you are starting to have intense food cravings.
These are all signs that the body has started to adapt to less calories coming in with an increase in activity. During this adaptation fat slows down dramatically or stops all together as a result.
At this stage you may notice that you even begin to gain a little fat back, your energy continues to get worse along with hunger and cravings as well.
Stage 2: Metabolic Push Back
In response to this lack of progress you follow the common advice to just work harder and eat less. With the extra effort you may notice you’ve lost a few pounds, but two weeks later you in the same position completely stalled out.
In response to less food and more work in the gym your body slows the metabolism even further to expend less energy.
You body is trying to signal that the energy needs aren't being met by increasing appetite and cravings simultaneously and your energy levels continue to decline as well.
Your metabolism has drawn a line in the sand and will not budge with fat loss because you have signaled that you are in a famine and energy is scarce resource that needs to be saved. Body fat is a great source of stored energy.
Stage 3: Metabolic Damage
You have been following all the common advice dropping calories and hitting extra cardio work without any progress, and feeling worse along the way.
The logical next step to get beach ready is to crank up the Pantera and hit the gym even harder regardless of how you feel.
You begin to feel run down and completely lack energy, digestion slows you start to get constipated regularly. You have a really hard time getting to sleep and wake up constantly to go pee.
You libido is non existent, and if you are a woman your time of the month can become extremely irregular or goes away all together.
You are in a perceived state of famine and your body knows this would be a poor time to have a child because of the extra energy requirement needed to reproduce. Your body diverts energy away libido and reproduction to make sure no energy is wasted.
Your body composition now becomes much worse, you may even be gaining weight back and you start to take on the skinny fat look, very little muscle and fat storage in the least attractive places on the body.
Your New Dilemma
By now you know that something is wrong and that you have dug yourself into a hole you want to get out of. In an effort to achieve fat loss, other areas of your health and quality of life took a big hit.
Around this time is when most people will read more the advice to eat a lot more, and greatly reduce exercising. However what happens is they gain fat and water weight VERY quickly.
Now you go into full on panic mode, all the progress you have made with fat loss previously is gone and you starting to gain more fat than when you had previously started this journey.
You don’t know what to do now! Eating more is making you gain body fat, but eating less is making you feel horrible and crushing your sleep and sex drive.
How are you going to regain your health without gaining a ton of body fat at the same time ? You will need to read Part 3 next week, we will be covering the strategies for each stage of metabolic damage to regain health and resume fat loss.
Stay Tuned For Part 3 Next Week!
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