Less Isn’t Always Better

Weight loss is a struggle for many people and can leave a person feeling very frustrated and often desperate to try anything in hope of finding the one thing that will make the weight disappear.  I have had people come to me saying they’ve had every lab and diagnostic test done only to find out that there was nothing anatomically wrong with their body; yet they continue to gain weight regardless of all of their vigorous activity and healthy eating.  This scenario, as you can well imagine, leaves a person feeling pretty discouraged, annoyed and dejected.  Honestly, who can blame them?

I have seen 3 people just this week share this same story and in all 3 cases the cause was that they were all not eating enough.  I know this may sound backwards given the goal is weight loss, but each of these individuals was not fueling their body with enough calories to simply sustain life.  The amount of calories our body requires is based on our lean muscle mass. The more muscle we have, the more calories our body requires to sustain life.  In each of these cases the clients were working out 6-8 hours per week but were eating under their daily energy requirements. They thought they should restrict calories, work out hard and that will result in weight loss.  They are definitely on the right track with fitness and reducing overall calories but they simply went too far which resulted in the very thing they were trying to avoid – weight gain!

So how exactly do I know this is the case?  I don’t have a crystal ball if that is what you are thinking (I wish!) We use a calorimetry machine to measure our client’s lean muscle mass versus fat mass and thereby an individual’s resting energy requirements.  This is a fantastic tool for us to help show our clients what their % body fat and lean muscle mass is, and how many calories they need at rest.  We then apply the energy required for our client’s activity level to figure out how many calories they should consume to effectively lose weight.

This measurement is more effective than a standard BMI (body mass index) or a simple number on the weigh scale.  Both of those measurements only tell part of the story.  The most important thing to understand is a person’s body composition.  This will help provide us with the essential information we need to help our clients achieve their goals.

Imagine having the mindset for many years that the way to lose weight is to eat a very low calorie diet (keep in mind that this information often comes from well intended, but misinformed health care professionals). You then walk into our office and are told from another well intended health care professional that “You need to eat more calories to lose weight”.  Who exactly should you believe?  I appreciate the frustration and total confusion.

My answer to our clients is this – “There is only one way to find out, let’s test it”.  We create a balanced meal pattern for people to follow that increases their calories and we see what happens.  In these 3 cases I can’t tell you the outcome as they are all new but I am confident based on previous clients with nearly identical stories that we will see their weight go down, lean muscle mass increase and fat mass decrease.  Why? They will be providing their body with adequate nourishment to support their activity and thus reduce their body’s need to break down muscle to get the nutrients it needs to sustain life.  Sometimes less isn’t better…

June 26, 2014
Revive Wellness