Updated: Nov 14, 2019
Under Eating Vs Over Eating
Are you a Monday to Friday dieter, and then over the weekend do you choose to eat practically what ever you like?
This type of approach to eating can in fact throw out your ability to get ahead with improving body composition, let us explain why...
Just say your maintenance calories are 2300 (to maintain your current results).
To help client drop body fat we would generally start by putting a client in a slight calorie deficit (say 10-20%) and build this up over time as the body adapts, based on their Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).
However, most client particularly females we come across are under eating at around 1200 calories (50-60% deficit), which is harmful to their bodies particularly females and their hormone levels. Many are not even eating their BMR which is the amount of calories that the body requires at bed rest, which would generally be around 1500 for the average female, this is creating a plateau or the opposite effect of what they are trying to achieve because their bodies are in starvation mode.
Say we put someone on 1800 calories (or build them up to this over time if they are initially severely under eating) and they manage to stick to this Monday to Friday.
When it comes to the weekend on Saturday and Sunday, they may then consume around 3500 calories.
Instead of their average calorie consumption across a week being 1800 calories, this now becomes 2500 calories which are their maintenance calories, this is why people may not be getting anywhere.
So we advise that people should consider their eating across a whole week as opposed to just Monday to Friday. Aim to stay on track over the weekend or choose healthier and cleaner versions of 'cheat meals' as this can really help to minimise a massive jump in calories, or you can just keep it to one 'cheat meal' rather than 'cheat meals' all weekend.
When you under eat around 1200 calories, then jump up to 3500 calories you can see how much of a massive difference this is. Under eating means you aren't getting enough of the macro and micro nutrients your body needs therefore you start to crave sweet, salty and fatty foods, you are malnourishing your body, your metabolism adjusts and slows to what you are feeding it and becomes sluggish. So when you over eat, your body has been in starvation mode and is now being flooded with calories therefore it's going to be smart and hold onto this food before you decide to starve it again.
When you eat enough food, you feel more energised and have all round improved health, there are a number of benefits that we could list. Over time your metabolism will begin to fire again therefore you will feel hungrier and won't struggle to eat more food (which is something we get told in the beginning).
As you build up your calorie intake the gap between your food consumption Monday to Friday and over the weekend won't be so huge.
Also, when you do go on holiday it's going to be a lot easier for you to maintain your hard work, because there won't be as much of a gap in what you are eating most days, this number will become more level.
An observation we have made is that a number of clients seem to use the weekend to reward themselves for a week of good eating, instead perhaps try find something different other than food as a reward, so that you aren't constantly starting over on Monday.
If we truely want to nourish and respect our bodies we won't want to consume processed nutrient deficient high calorie foods, because we know that this is harmful to our bodies and does not make us feel good, this is not what our bodies want.
One of the last things we will mention is that most clients will think that if they complete a training session, they have burnt a whole heap of calories and can therefore eat a bunch of food, the question here is are you really training hard? Clients over estimate the amount of energy or 'calories' that they burn when they workout.
The harder you train, the more energy you burn, the more healthy clean food you will need to replenish your body.
Caution: We are not nutritionists however we can figure out how much food you should be consuming and can provide some coaching here. We understand it isn't all about calories, and that there is a lot more to nutrition, however this is a quick and simple change that you can implement to start achieving better results and bust that plateau you may currently be experiencing.
Thanks for reading, Jaime.