I was scrolling through social media when I stumbled across a post where someone was asked how to get rid of belly fat, his response? “If you want to lose fat, restrict your amount of calorie intake, it doesn’t even matter what you eat, you could eat cake all day but as long as you are only eating a small piece of cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you will still lose fat”. His response made me realize even deeper the lies that we believe about health, the biggest lie suggesting that skinny means healthy. While I agree that calorie restricting will initially cause weight loss, the recommendation above is not only damaging to the body, but will actually cause weight gain in the near future.
While I am not saying that you should ever over eat, making sure that you are eating enough nutrient dense food in order to get vital vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, etc., is crucial for a healthy mind and body. The reason that you may lose weight from calorie restricting, is actually because you are starving your body and causing malnutrition, which in turn causes short term weight loss. Let me make it clear when I say that not all weight loss is healthy. Forcing your body to lose weight in an unhealthy way through starvation, causes your hormones to manipulate your body to gain the weight back that it lost and undo the damage that you caused, returning to the weight that it last remembers feeling safe at.
The idea that calories are what cause weight gain is a very misunderstood concept. Calories do not cause weight gain, but rather a diet high in carbs and sugar. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood and is the only hormone that can actually make you fat, insulin and sugar consumption are directly related. Harvard University states “when people eat a food containing carbohydrates, the digestive system breaks down the digestible ones into sugar, which enters the blood. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin“(Harvard). As Insulin levels rise with a high carb and high sugar diet, the body begins to store it in the brain, muscles, and liver. With high amounts of sugar, the body begins to become resistant to insulin, causing possible buildup in the liver, brain, or muscle. Significantly decreasing the intake of sugar and grains, getting daily exercise, sleeping 8-10 hours each night, and getting your hormones balanced will help the body to respond properly to insulin and allow for healthy weight loss.
Do not obsess over calorie in, calorie out and do not obsess over your weight. Instead, be cautious of your habits and the way you are treating your body. Understand that skinny does not necessarily mean healthy and always have a goal of health and not weight loss.
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“Carbohydrates and Blood Sugar.” Harvard, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/carbohydrates-and-blood-sugar/#:~:text=When%20people%20eat%20a%20food,sugar%20for%20energy%20or%20storage.