Have you struggled with weight loss? If so, you’re not alone. Join the growing crowd of others who have struggle losing weight and keeping it off.
What you need is a new strategy – a better plan or program. Many people lose weight fairly easily, at least initially, sometimes achieving dramatic results. But, then they put the weight back on for a couple of reasons.
Restricting calories for a prolonged period is challenging and eventually many individuals “cave in” and resume their previous eating habits.
Secondly, if you are restricting calories every day for a stretch of time the body will adjust its calorie burning downward. It senses it is being “starved” and will conserve the expenditure of calories. This down regulation of metabolism makes losing each subsequent pound even more challenging.
Zig-Zag Your Calories
Here’s a weight loss tip. Fluctuate your calorie intake. Yes, fluctuate your caloric intake.
To achieve weight loss one must create a calorie deficit best accomplished through a combination of increasing calorie expenditure through exercise, and by decreasing calories consumed. To lose a pound of fat per week one needs to create a calorie deficit of 3,500 calories a week or 500 calories a day.
The challenge is that if the body sees a 500 calorie deficit each and every day it adjusts by slowing metabolism as we alluded to above. So, how can we prevent that slowing in metabolism?
One method that works for some is to fluctuate calorie intake from day to day, yet maintaining a calorie deficit for the week. This keeps your body somewhat confused as to how to adjust your metabolism. In essence, zig-zagging your calories tricks your body and helps prevent a slowing in metabolism.
Some think that adjusting calories up and down is consistent with our evolutionary background and might explain why zig-zagging calories works for many individuals. Our Paleo ancestors did not have the luxury we have today with food readily available at all times. Think about it. We have 24/7/365 access to food. Many prior civilizations did not.
Our paleo brethren naturally fluctuated their caloric intake. It was built into their lifestyle. They would have feasted and gorged for a few days after killing an animal, but then there were times where they did not have much and went without much food for a day or two.
Our bodies appeared to be wired to tolerate a certain amount of day to day variation in caloric consumption before making any changes in their metabolic rates. Take advantage of that wiring of our metabolism.
So how do you zig-zag your way to easy weight loss?
First you need to determine your body’s daily caloric need which will fluctuate depending on your activity level. Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate) and daily caloric need by visting www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/. Then you need to decide how much weight loss you would like to achieve each week. One to two pounds is recommended. Losing more than 2 pounds a week is an invitation for trouble, because you start losing muscle mass and muscle mass is needed as it keeps metabolism going. The more muscle you have the higher will be your metabolic rate.
So if you daily caloric need is 2,500 and you want to lose one pound a week you need to create a daily calorie deficit that averages 500 calories. So you will want to consume an average of 2,000 calories a day or 14,000 for the week.
- Day 1 you might consume 2,000 calories
- Day 2 you might consume 1,600 calories
- Day 3 you might consume 2,300 calories
- Day 4 you might consume 1,900 calories
- Day 5 you might consume 2,800 calorie (special occasion)
- Day 6 you might consume 2,000 calories
- Day 7 you might consume 1,400 calories
With the above example you’ve consumed a total of 14,000 calories for the week. Your weekly caloric need was 17,500 calories. So you have lost one pound and were even able to consume more than 2,500 calories one day during the week (more than your daily caloric need). Weight loss won’t be quick of fast with the Zig-Zag approach, but it will be steady and ongoing.
Zig-Zag eating may not work for everyone, but certainly worth considering if you have struggled with weight loss in the past. So lose weight just like you would walk down a fire escape – zig-zag your way to safety to achieve an ideal weight.
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