You MUST Understand This Before Starting Any Diet
Dieting can have a significant impact on energy balance.
As we already know, the amount of calories that you burn in a day could be different each day. To lose weight, you need to consume less calories than your body is burning. However, dieting can actually lead to a decrease in your daily energy needs. Here’s how:
Dieting can impact your BMR:
When you diet, you’ll often be losing some muscle mass while losing fat mass. Muscle mass is your metabolically active tissue. The more muscle mass you lose, the lower your BMR.
Dieting can impact NEAT
If you are in a large deficit, chances are, you are going to be feeling pretty sluggish. When we are feeling sluggish, our incidental movement decreases. This means that across the day you may be eating less, but you are also likely moving less and therefore, burning less calories.
Dieting can impact calories burnt during exercise/training
Similar to how dieting impacts NEAT. If you aren’t fuelling your body with adequate energy, you will likely not be training as hard or recovering as well. This means that you’re likely burning less calories during your training sessions.
Dieting can impact the thermic effect of food
The last key factor that contributes to your energy requirements is the thermic effect of food and this is also effected by nutrition. Very simply, if you are eating less food, then your body will be using less energy to digest the food.
Dieting can also effect your hormones, especially your thyroid. Your thyroid is responsible for many body systems, including metabolism. Dieting can actually lead to a slower metabolism as your body fights to conserve energy.
Lastly, your body will fight against a deficit by ramping up your hunger hormones. Your body doesn’t actually like losing weight as it knows that it needs energy for survival.
As you can see, dieting impacts all 4 aspects of energy expenditure and leads to a decreased energy expenditure across the day. It also can impact hormones that control hunger and metabolism. If you shoot for too low of a deficit, you may find that weight loss slows or that you stop losing altogether. This does not mean that weight loss is impossible, it just means that taking extreme approaches may not actually get the best results.
We'd like to kindly thank Hannah from All Bodies Services for the content of this blog. We are grateful to have an incredible partnership with Hannah & her team of expert Nutritionist's and Dietitian's to guide our members on their journey with food.