Our metabolism is often the first to take the blame when weight loss becomes challenging. Does constant on and off dieting kill the burning power of our metabolism? Contrary to popular belief, it takes a lot more than just inconsistent dieting to ruin or stop your metabolism from burning fat effectively.
It’s a specific, consistent bad dieting habit that will legitimately slow your metabolism. According to research gathered by The MealMentor “Your metabolism will only slow down if you’ve consumed less than 50% of your required calorie intake for several weeks or months AND even then, only by 10% AT THE MOST.”
Meaning, constant yo-yo dieting will likely lead to weight gain or a cease of effective fat burning. But you will not “break your metabolism” unless you meet the above criteria. More than likely, you are going about dieting all wrong.
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Then Why is Losing Weight So Difficult?
If our metabolism doesn’t become impaired as easily as we think it does, then why is losing weight so difficult? Several factors play into how easily people can lose weight and keep it off. Factors such as consistency when dieting as well as biological factors.
Weight loss isn’t eas. Understanding what works or doesn’t work is half the battle. The other half is implementing what you know and working it to your advantage.
Inconsistent Dieting Habits
Starting and stopping diets or going on crash diets are probably some of the worst things you can do when trying to lose weight. Your metabolism may not be ruined by doing this, but weight loss won’t be as effective.
Your body adapts and gets used to whatever diet you feed it. Whether you are not eating a very much or eating way too much, your body will still adjust to whatever you are giving it. With that in mind, if you go from calorie deficit to overeating, your body will not continue to burn fat the same way it did when you had a deficit.
As mentioned above, it takes a long period of several weeks or so, of eating below 50% below your needed daily calorie intake to bust your metabolism. It might be more accurate to state that you are confusing your metabolism, not breaking it, when dieting inconsistently.
Hormones and Other Life Reasons
With the idea of needing a calorie deficit in mind, consider how busy and hectic life can be at times. Counting calories at every meal during a busy week doesn’t always go as smoothly as we might hope, making weight loss all the more difficult.
Hormones also play a massive role in whether a person can lose weight effectively or not. Each gender has its own set of hormones that work with or against weight loss efforts. Estrogen and testosterone, to name a few. Each hormone affects each gender in a particular way, while both genders have one common hormone, cortisol.
Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is also responsible for weight gain or decreased ability to lose weight. High levels of stress and anxiety, which we all experience at some point, will lead to increased levels of cortisol in the body. The younger generation is most concerned about weight loss and is coincidentally among the most stressed experience this often
The Meal Mentor provided more specific information regarding what it would take to damage one’s metabolic capabilities. You can read more about how metabolism works, in regards to going into “starvation mode” in the podcast transcript on their site.
Another inspiring source includes Oxygen Mag. There they give a brief explanation about metabolism and whether it can be “broken” or not. They also bring up the interesting concept of laughter being a metabolism booster.
Although metabolism cannot be easily broken, it can become less effective at burning fat under the right circumstances. Going on and off of strict or crash diets can confuse your metabolic rate, leading to decreased fat-burning abilities.
Without adequate calorie deficit, weight loss efforts will be fruitless. A deficit of 50% or greater for an extended period is what will most significantly impair metabolic rate.
The right diet plan and the determination to stick to it consistently is the best and most efficient way to make your metabolism work with you rather than against you.