Cut Calories, Lose Weight, Right? Not So Fast!
By Dr. Rick Kattouf II
Body weight management (achieving meaningful and sustainable results for a lifetime) is something so many individuals strive for but very few achieve. Keep in mind, weight loss is not the challenge. Rather, weight management is the challenge. Weight loss is the easiest thing to achieve; just stop eating. No, I am not recommending this of course. Rather, it’s just a powerful example to show how easy weight loss is. Weight loss from diets, food fads, fasting, etc., are all met with an even faster weight re-gain. And this is exactly why we do not want to make this the focus (we want to focus on body fat loss for meaningful & sustainable results for a lifetime). Individuals that focus on losing weight are setting themselves up for a lifetime of failure in this arena. Keep in mind, weight loss is like the business card of business. Anyone can print a business card, right? Well, just because someone has a business card does not mean they have a business. And it definitely does not mean they have a successful business. Weight loss is the same. Just because someone loses weight, in no way does this mean they will achieve success in terms of life-long body transformation.
Individuals become over-focused on losing weight. As a result, this can lead many of them down the path of jumping on the bandwagon of the latest and greatest food fad/diet. On the surface, it seems pretty simple, right? Just cut your calories and you will lose weight. Well, in the famous words of Lee Corso… Not so fast!
Typically, diets and food fads revolve around restriction; whether it is calories, macronutrients or a combination of both. Before you jump on that diet bandwagon, always remember the trademarked acronym for DIET, Disaster Imminent Every Time®. Let's examine a few reasons as to why calorie restriction, diets and food fads don't work in terms of enabling individuals to achieve meaningful and sustainable results for a lifetime.
The Focus (or lack thereof)
When individuals are focusing on losing weight, where is their focus? Well, their focus is on weight loss and this is exactly the problem. When athletes focus on weight loss, they tend to focus on diets, cutting calories, choosing foods/meals that they think are going to be low in calorie and help them lose weight, etc. Having a goal to lose body fat and lose body weight is great, but we cannot be result-focused. Rather, we have to be process-focused. Remember, results are simply the byproduct of a great process. The process is eating right, getting the proper amount of sleep each night, working out smart, etc. According to Michelle May, M.D., "people get so focused on weight loss, they are willing to do unproven and potentially dangerous things that can backfire and cause serious health problems."
Fuel the Body (don’t feed the body)
There's a huge difference between fueling the body and feeding the body; these are two completely different animals. Whether the goal revolves around body transformation, improved overall health and fitness and/or improved athletic performance, fueling the body is the key to success. As mentioned above, when the focus is on "weight loss" we focus on feeding the body using a diet mentality. We think that low calorie snacks are going to help promote weight loss. We think that cutting carbohydrates is going to promote body fat loss, etc. For body composition success to become a reality, there's one focus we have to have at every meal and snack and that is to properly fuel the body. When each meal and snack is properly balanced with the right amount of carbohydrate-protein-fat, the body and brain will be properly fueled and this will put us on the path to success. When we focus on fueling the body properly at every meal and snack, we then have laser-like focus on the process. And, when we focus on the process, the byproduct will be positive results.
The Fast & Cleanse
Ahh, yes, let’s do a fast, cleanse, etc.; as this seems like a logical way to lose weight, right? Again, here is another disaster (Disaster Imminent Every Time®) in the making. Once again, the focus is way off. When individuals think that a fast and/or cleanse is a good idea for weight loss, they are results-focused and not process-focused. Dr. May says, "severely slashing calories may lead to weight loss but the lost weight includes precious muscle and lowers metabolism. Drastic calorie restriction also causes a shift toward higher body fat percentage which increases the risk for metabolic syndrome type II diabetes." This goes right back to the process and the focus of fueling the body. No matter how much body fat we are looking to lose, we want to take the focus off of weight loss and restriction and place all of our time, effort and energy towards fueling the body properly at every meal and snack.
Save Up/Make Up Philosophy
As I discuss in my 3-DVD set, Rx Nutrition, there is a philosophy many individuals adopt which I term the, "save up/makeup philosophy." It goes like this. An individual has an event/dinner later in the day. They want to enjoy all of the great food that will be there, so in their mind, they think it is a good idea to "save up" calories early in the day so that they can consume more at the party. (As I talk about in Rx Nutrition, ‘if it were as easy as calories in versus calories out, it would be that easy.’ This "save up" of calories typically involves skipping meals and/or eating very little and restricting calories throughout the day (and possibly working out more). Well, here is another disaster in the making. This leads to such an over-consumption of food at the dinner/event, the individual eats enough to feed an army. And then the next series of events continues to negatively impact the situation. The individual is so frustrated when they wake up the next morning because of the binge eating session they engaged in the previous night. So how do they fix it? Easy, they choose to "make up" for the overconsumption the night before. In order to make up for the excess calories consumed, what do they do the next day? Unfortunately, they do the exact same thing they did the day before. They skip meals and significantly reduce calories thinking that this will make up for the overconsumption and then this simply leads to another binge eating session that night and the negative cycle continues. A recent study conducted at the Ohio State University revealed that skipping meals not only leads to abdominal weight gain, but it can also lead to the development of insulin resistance in the liver. According to Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition at the Ohio State University, "but you definitely don't want to skip meals to save calories because it sets your body up for larger fluctuations in insulin and glucose and could be setting you up for more fat gain instead of fat loss."
If you are ready to take your health, fitness and body composition to an entirely new level, let’s place that laser-like focus on the process (not the results), avoid the DIET mentality (Disaster Imminent Every Time®) and set your body up for amazing success.
WORKOUT SMART, EAT RIGHT, GET RESULTS®!
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Rick Kattouf II, O.D. is a 2x Best-Selling Author and Fitness & Nutrition expert and has been named one of America’s PremierExperts® and one of the World Fitness Elite® Trainers of the Year. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates around the country as well as in the USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Ironman.com, Livestrong.com, FIGHT! Magazine, Florida Cycling Magazine and The Independent in the UK. Rick is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf® Inc, CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf® Nutrition LLC, CEO/Founder of Virtual Gym LLC, Creator of TeamKattouf® Nutrition Supplements, Host of Rx Nutrition, author of Forever Fit, Creator of 5-Round Fury® Nutrition Supplement, 5-Round Fury Fitness® workout app, Creator of Coach2CEO, Creator of Fuel Keeper®, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. Dr. Rick has personally coached individuals in 30+ states and 10+ countries.