This is a bit of a complex subject, although a great one, and something we should all strive to understand on all levels.
I come from a place that derives from fitness, which is the basis of my knowledge of metabolism.
As you know, the constant caloric restriction will slow down your metabolism – or basal metabolic rate over time due to your body’s adaptation to the lack of calories. This also causes negative consequences with your hormones and loss of muscle mass. This can leave you susceptible to gaining body fat stores, despite your lack of caloric ingestion and high energy output. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Think of it this way – your body is a new machine that reacts to the environment to create balance – homeostasis. If it suspects something is wrong, it will respond accordingly. In this case, a lack of calories will put your body on red alert, prompting it to adapt accordingly and make do with what it has. This is a survival mechanism, and it’s inbuilt within us – just in case we ever experience a food shortage.
There are ways to trick your body into not delving into this rheum, but it’s not the topic for discussion in this post.
Suppose you choose to fast instead, which is not a caloric-restrictive diet. In that case, it’s a point in time that we cease eating altogether to give our bodies a break from digestion, focusing on cleansing, elimination and rejuvenation of cells. It’s a proven method that works for people of most ages.
The cessation of eating during a window of time (not constantly eating less daily) is the magic formula for eliminating metabolic disease, obesity and other catastrophic diseases. It’s also a lot easier to stick to than caloric restriction daily. With IF, you get to eat a wide range of food but recommended to eat as healthy as possible to replenish your body with the nutrients it needs after the fasting period.
Although fasting is not restricting calories, it’s restricting eating windows, making it much like a caloric-restricted diet (but more effective). One thing to point out is that you can be susceptible to eating a higher caloric intake when fasting – if you are not careful. This will become highly unlikely when you get quite familiar with the process.
When it comes to caloric surplus, it does have its benefits by boosting the metabolism, but it does have to do with the food you are consuming. Foods such as protein, cruciferous vegetables and certain fats take energy for the body to digest, increasing your thermogenic capabilities. One must also remember that these foods increase satiety, making it extremely unlikely for you to want a snack regularly.
When you add activity to the surplus mix, like weight training, you take your results to another level! Building muscle is another caloric chewer, which will require adequate fuel to grow and develop.
Finding the perfect balance is very challenging, and the best way is to get to basics with macro numerals and then tweak them as you go along. When you start to weight train and build muscle mass, you naturally want to consume more dense calories. It’s a matter of monitoring and adjusting as you progress. There is no right or wrong here, as so many variables come into play. Don’t stress out too much about it. You will get there.
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