Staying on a reduced calorie diet for an extended period of time can slow down your metabolism. This makes an already hard task even more difficult. Below are five ways that you can prevent metabolic damage:
Dieting slowly will help your metabolism from crashing. A diet where you are eating far below maintenance calories will result in your metabolism slowing down very quickly. Soon you could find yourself eating far less than expected.
Get some gains! Building muscle will increase your metabolism. If you are lifting weights while dieting you can avoid a decrease in your metabolism. Adding extra protein to your diet will help you to build muscle as well, but it should still fit into your overall calorie goal. Hayley actually eats more calories to diet now than she did when she first started out lifting (True story: Hip Hip Hooray! The composition of my diet is much more balanced now though too). Keep up the good work!
Putting the diet on pause and eating a little bit more every once in awhile can prevent this metabolic self-sabotage as well. Just be sure not to use it as an excuse to put weight back on. The goal is to maintain a weight, not lose all your progress. Whenever you feel yourself having to eat less to get the same result, it could be a good idea to assess your current metabolic state.
Get a good sweat on regularly. Doing more cardio can help you lose weight without cutting your calories as severely. Keeping your lifting intensity high will also burn more calories and help increase metabolism.
Don’t overeat when you stop dieting. When coming off of a diet, you should try and slowly increase your amount of calories until your weight is stable. Introduce 200-300 calories at a time over several weeks and keep tabs on your weight. If you find yourself gaining, cut back. If your weight is stable, try introducing another 200 calories a day until you find the magic number that allows you to eat as much as possible without regaining the weight.
Drastic diets over long periods cause the most metabolic damage. I have heard this is a problem for people on the show “The Biggest Loser.” The contestants lose hundreds of pounds over the course of a few months, and once they get down to their desired weight their metabolic rate has been severely lowered. This makes it a lot harder to diet in the future or even to maintain their bodyweight.
Just remember that slow and steady ultimately wins the weight loss race!
Stay Consistent Out There