Eat Less + Exercise More = Burn Less + Store More

As mammals, if caloric intake is chronically low (during a diet), or energy expenditure is chronically high (from excessive exercise), we unknowingly learn to function on less calories per day. Our body seeks a caloric homeostasis by either storing more fat for energy, or increasing hunger to access more calories.

Think of the bear, who still manages to ‘fatten up’ for hibernation when there’s a food scarcity; or the full-time movers  I worked with during my summer’s in University who never consumed anything other than cigarettes and coffee, yet were fatter than people who sit all day and eat tons of food.

During a caloric deficit we either burn less or store more, using a combination of hormones and an adjustment to our metabolic rate.

The New England Journal of Medicine published research in 2011 that highlights the long-lasting negative physiological effects of a caloric deficit on our hormones.  The participants consumed only 550 calories/day – which (unfortunately) is characteristic of many extreme weight loss challenges that combine inadequate input (food) with excessive output (exercise) – and followed this ‘special shake’ and low-starch vegetable regimen for 10 weeks.

(hmmmm, sounds like a lot of those Multi-Level Marketing Meal-Replacement challenges).

MLM-protein

As expected, the men and women lost A LOT of ‘weight’ (an average of 30 pounds). However, for the next 42 weeks they gained nearly half of it back on a maintenance plan (that was still restricted), and their hormone levels remained damaged for an ENTIRE YEAR!

Leptin went down and ghrelin up (meaning hunger increased), metabolism decreased, and fat storage was elevated (and remained elevated). Making their threshold to gain fat significantly lower and their threshold to burn fat significantly – for a full year!

Imagine what a chronic deficit or a lifetime of annual 10 week ‘diets’ could do?

Stay Lean!
Coach Mike


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