Think of Metabolism and Calories as a Bank Account
Many people appear to have difficulty understanding our metabolism and how it relates to weight loss and weight gain. In this post I want you to start thinking of it all like a bank account that you have set up to pay the bills (rent, food, gas, electric etc). If we spend more than we earn there are consequences so we naturally adjust expenditure to cope.
Each week you pay money into the bank account and over the course of the week approximately the same amount of money goes out in bills. Some weeks you dip into your overdraft, other weeks end with some money left in the account. On average at the end of the week there is £0 in the account.
Things are hard so you pay less money into the bank account each week. To compensate you then must spend less so buy many special offers when food shopping, take a shower at the gym and limit electricity use and so on. Life is miserable but you survive and gradually get used to what is going on. Your efficiencies are working well so in fact there is always a small amount of money left in the bank at the end of each week, just in case.
Things are great; you got a pay rise so now pay more money into the bank account each week. You consider getting a better apartment but while you wait you shop at the most expensive supermarket for the best food, you use electricity and water for fun. You are happy and enjoying life. On average at the end of the week there is £0 in the account.
So what on earth has this got to do with metabolism? Everything!! Now lets look at those three scenarios in terms of metabolism.
Each week you eat approximately the same number of calories you burn. So what is going in matches what is going out so fat gain is unlikely (if eating clean). The calorie offset is ZERO.
The classic diet, you eat less calories then you burn each week. Initially this works and some fat is lost but soon the body starts to compensate and becomes more efficient. Energy expenditure reduces, the body becomes more efficient and you get lethargic and are also miserable because you cannot eat the foods you enjoy. You go to the gym but do not realise you are not giving it 100% anymore. You then actually gain fat.
You are now eating slightly more calories than you think you actually need. Your body reacts by using this energy. You are buzzing, full of energy all day and sleep well at night. You are awesome in the gym, you gain lean muscle mass and set new PBs. You are happy and your body weight is stable.
So whether looking at the bank account scenarios or the calorie scenarios I think most people would choice option C. The reality is that overtime the body will adjust to all 3 scenarios and things will even out metabolism wise. So in an ideal world what you need to do is manipulate all 3 scenarios to the positive. However, as we live in the real world most people actually fluctuate randomly or deliberately between Scenario B and C, which is the worst outcome and yet many so called diet exerts recommend this! Lets call this scenario D.
6 days a week you eat less calories than you burn, 1 day a week you are allowed a cheat meal/treat. So during those 6 days your body is firmly in efficiency mode and is doing everything in its power to conserve energy often at the expense of lean muscle mass; you can easily be gaining fat doing this. Any workouts in the gym will suffer; you will not be able to perform at your best. Those 6 days are miserable but it’s worth it for the cheat day. Then 1 day a week you overfeed the body with what most likely is going to be crap, calorie dense food. This is the cruncher, your body is still in efficiency mode so will store most of this energy as fat rather than let you use it as energy! Your so-called diet is making you fatter!
What we need to do is manipulate the metabolism by staying in Scenario C for as long as possible. That is for as long as we don’t start gaining fat (a small increase is worth it) in the long run. Each week we increase calorie intake by approx. 5%. This will hopefully be for 6 weeks or more and in this time we will be able to train like monsters, set PBs for fun and increase lean muscle mass. These will be happy times both inside and outside the gym. We then make a calorie cut for 2-3 weeks to shed the fat. This works because our metabolism will be so high that even when we make a calorie cut we will still be eating more calories than we were in the first place. Therefore, the metabolism will stay high and fat loss will be quick and easy. This is reverse dieting.
The expert on this is Dr Lane Norton so I highly recommend his products and youtube channel