I absolutley hate counting calories...lol! But, I'm using this as an example to show you that you do not need to starve yourself to get to your goal weight. Most people want the quick fix, the low calorie diet, it may show results in the beginning BUT will leave you with a malfunctioning metabolism and whacked out hormones, plus you will most likely get back to where you started and possibly worse!! Eat enough "HEALTHY" foods and weight train!! You will change your body! James Wilson- Faith, Family and Fitness explains things so well and I wanted to share to those of you who may be struggling or always seem to find yourself at a plateau.
Here is his original question and answer!!
"All too often I see fitness professionals, trainers and forums recommending that ladies need to eat 1,200-1,500 a day to lose weight, regardless of how much they weigh. There is a problem with this, let me show you...
Lets say we have a women that is 5,5" and 200 pounds. If she has 30% body fat, that means she has 60 pounds of fat mass (a good goal is to have around 25-30 total fat pounds) and 140 pounds of lean body mass (muscle, bones, organs, etc..). With that amount of muscle on her frame, she is going to starve! She will drop weight quick initially, but after a couple of weeks she will likely plateau while eating this restricted range.
The body is a complex organism that only cares to survive and creating too large of a deficit will force it into preservation mode. Meaning the body adapts to be able to complete daily activities on less food. You'll shed fat, you'll shed muscle and typically hormone functions and leptin slows with this kind of a energy deficit.
Alright, we hit the plateau. Lets say this women is now 165 pounds and can't seem to drop anymore, even though she still has 35 pounds she could potentially lose to reach her goal personal goal of 130 pounds. She is already eating 1,200 a day, where do you go from there? Anything less than 1,200 is considered anorexia by medical standards, so what do you do?"
Answer: "Our hypothetical woman has plateau'd at 165 pounds, still has 35 more pounds for her personal goal and she has been eating 1,200 calories a day.
Her options are;
1- Eat less (not advised, she is already borderline anorexic)
2- Work harder (not advised because it may not be maintainable doing more than she already is, especially when so restricted with nutrition)
3- Gradually increase calories over time while focusing on resistance training to repair metabolic functions. (Advised)
She needs to do more than just "re-feed", she needs to repair the damage caused from eating too little for too long. I encourage a mild increase in total calories, roughly 200-300 additional calories a day and hold at those levels for a solid month or more. I would then encourage a complete emphasis on muscle gain (No cardio, no active rests). As her body begins to trust it is getting fed and she now has muscle to support the new established caloric intake of 1,400-1,500; she should notice that she is getting hungrier and wanting more food. This is a very good sign.
She listens to her body and consumes an additional 200-300 calories for a total of 1,600-1,800 a day. This may take 3-6 months or more depending on the extent of her damage. She repeats this cycle until she can maintain her weight of 165 while consuming 1,900 calories a day on rest days and likely 2,200 on workout days.
Now she is ready to start re-introducing cardio again and continue on her path. Only this time, she will only drop 100 calories for every 7-10 pounds she loses.
160 pounds, consumes 1,900-2,200 a day.
150 pounds, consumes 1,800-2,100 a day.
140 pounds, consumes 1,700-2,000 a day.
Hits her goal of 130 and is consuming 1,600-1,900 calories every single day. Giving her adequate nutrition for her daily activities and supporting a healthy metabolism."
What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! Do you think this strategy can help you??