If you don’t put money in the bank you CAN’T make a withdrawal.
There are no shortage of companies out there trying to starve you to optimal body composition, but there’s one willing to give you the whole truth. The best way to describe “the truth” to achieving your fat loss goals is with the “Metabolic Bank” metaphor. Here we go!
Your Metabolism Is Like a Bank Account
Imagine this: around your teenage years you open your first Metabolic Bank Account. We all remember these years, where we could almost eat anything and get away with it.
We were making deposits into the metabolic bank, almost irresponsibly so, and for some of us that was the first sign that we needed to start working out.
So let’s focus on that for a bit because the fittest people tend to be the people that have been working out the longest. Once they started working out they might have mixed in a few more salads and a little less McDonald’s but in general, their Metabolic bank account was open and the few withdrawals they made were based around their fitness routines.
The rest of us did it like this…
In my 20s, I was active but working out wasn’t a priority and my perspective was different. But I was making regular deposits into my metabolic bank. Let me introduce you to the most important FACT related to metabolism:
The biggest determining factor for successfully getting lean is how you were eating BEFORE you started making fat loss a goal. Most of the people that think they have a lagging metabolism couldn’t be farther from the truth if they are eating normally. I’ll get into that further below.
While I was active, I wasn’t fit per se. I wasn’t bad off but I was making a lot of deposits without a lot of withdrawals; I wasn’t working out in this or staying fit. In my early 30s, I decided to make a withdrawal but instead of a small one, I made a big withdrawal and it worked (or so I thought).
Why Every Time You Diet, You Get WORSE at Dieting
Rather than viewing my problem as a fitness problem I viewed my problem as a calorie problem and as such I wanted the problem solved as fast as I could.
When the bank teller (online calorie calculator) asked how much I wanted to lose I said, “I want to make a big withdrawal.” and the bank teller said, “Are you really sure about this?” I was like “Yeah, I am. I’m committed.” and you know what? I sucked it up, my sleep suffered, but I reached my goal.
After I made it, I did what everyone does – I had a celebratory meal with all the foods I had denied myself for those few months. Fitness was not really part of this journey so all I really knew how to do was quit making deposits in the bank.
But here is the key: the diet industry says YOU NEED TO MAKE CONSISTENT WITHDRAWALS. Not only does this not make logical sense, but it doesn’t make physiological sense. That’s not the way your body wants to work.
I thought my first diet was a success and it got me under 180 pounds by the time I was done, but about 10 years later I weighed 250 pounds. I basically dieted my way to obesity and that’s pretty much how everyone does it.
Keeping with the metaphor, when you diet, remember your body is the bank and the bank wants regular deposits before you withdraw. The more withdrawals you make, the more deposits your body expects. It follows suit then, that the more you diet, the more your body wants to store fat when you aren’t dieting. You set up the opposite scenario of what most people’s logical brain would prefer.
Your bodies preferred state of being is NOT dieting, where you are making regular deposits and regular small withdrawals (turning fat into muscle is a withdrawal).
Why The People Who Work The Hardest Look The Best
Look, we all know people that live on 4 almonds and three carrots and run ultra marathons…and are somehow lean. What we don’t often hear from those people is the price they pay for that.
Following the bank metaphor, they have gone bankrupt many times. For women, that might mean they no longer get their period, their hair is thinning, they have a dysfunctional thyroid or a whole host of other symptoms. Men have similar problems but less sleep and low testosterone can be added to the list.
Let’s face it: like me, many people come to fitness late. Some of us have been fit for some time but underfed for longer. We all face a similar struggle but I am going to take the underfed first. If you have been under eating for the last 30 years the process to heal that takes time.
Those “last 15 pounds” really aren’t the priority when you’re sleeping 4 hours a night, you’re on thyroid medication, and you’re training for 3 marathons. It’s time to rethink everything because right now you are bankrupt and the best way to fix that problem is to start training smarter (not just harder) and start depositing in the bank again.
For people in the same spot that I was, I get where you are at: you have been depositing in the bank for a long time and so you feel like you are entitled to make a big withdrawal. The problem is that not only will you plateau faster this way, but you are also going to cause more harm than good. I know I know, I said it to myself too all those years. “Once I am down to ‘x’ pounds, things are going to be different”. No, they won’t. Without activity in your life and a smart plan that has you making both deposits and withdrawals regularly, you end up in a rinse and repeat cycle that is the opposite of the way your body wants to work.
The good news is that most of you have no idea the amount of deposits your metabolic bank needs to thrive. That’s where we come in and people are often shocked at how much they can eat and stay weight stable. In fact, the opposite is also true. In the beginning, we start people off relatively slow but it’s typically more than they were eating so that fixes a lot of the issues that are the real problem.
Most people don’t have a calorie issue. If you asked me what the most important – yet most underrated – component to fat loss is, I would say it’s SLEEP. People are so under-recovered and stressed out that they’re compromising their health and under-eating just makes this worse.
Once the foundation is in place, and food is cycled the way I describe (trust me, no one is doing it like this unless you are an elite athlete) things normalize. You feel like doing more and that’s when we can start taking occasional withdrawals. That’s why our clients are successful. I realize this all sounds kind of simple and honestly, it is.