Cutting out calories means you'll lose weight right? Don't bet on it says this pro trainer.
There is a commonly bandied about theory that if you cut out 500 calories a day, you'll lose one pound of pure fat a week. But this might not only be inaccurate, it could lead to you gaining weight says Biggest Loser trainer, Charlotte Ord.
'The theory is based on the notion that a pound of fat equals 3500 calories,' explains Charlotte. 'The 500kcal deficit myth suggests that weight loss is a straight forward affair and that if you cut calories by x amount each day, you will experience x weight loss, in a linear fashion.
'Anyone who has ever been on any kind of calorie restricting diet will know already that this is not true. And yet we choose to continue following this protocol over and over again,' she added.
Calories in vs. calories out
'The reason why fat loss isn't linear is that there is more going on within the body than a simple calories in vs. calories out exchange. The body is excellent at self-preservation and, when faced with a large deficit, will shut down any non-essential functions in order to protect itself. For example, loss of menstruation occurs in women because reproduction is non-essential. In fact everything slows down, including your metabolic rate. This is obviously counterproductive for fat loss.'
Losing 'weight' is a vague term - what people really want is to be losing fat, not muscle. When you starve your body of calories, it turns to it's stores to keep you going. However this isn't just fat, the body also will burn up you lovely lean muscles too.
Charlotte explains, 'When it comes to weight loss, your body is trying to look out for you, and will try and keep you alive as best it can. If you deny it calories it will shut everything down and get rid of the one thing that keeps you lean, your muscle tissue.'
'When you go on a calorie restricted diet and you end up, weeks or months later, weighing more than you did initially, this is not you defying science, nor is it you being weak-willed.
So what is the answer?
'For healthy, effective fat loss, focus on unprocessed, clean food sources, minimise starchy carbohydrates and eat lots of quality lean meat and vegetables.'
Charlotte Ord is the trainer on ITV1's Biggest Loser; strength and conditioning coach for the England lacrosse team and runs personal training gym, Phoenix Pro Fitness
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