This might not seem like it but this is an advanced concept. Too often people shoot for goals and then become paralyzed by those goals.
At the heart of what I am going to talk about is the concept of reverse dieting and while there is a strong argument for normalizing calories as quickly as possible for almost everyone they have no idea what normal looks like. So what they end up doing is working in these very small windows that make them more and more restrictive over time.
The problem is you don’t know what you don’t know and that’s why people often need a coach to help them with this.
So let’s say that your goal is to get to 135. One helpful guide is 1 pound a week so if you are 150 you have to plan for 20 weeks? Why 20 weeks, because your real goal needs to be 20 pounds and not 15.
We refer to this as your floor and your ceiling.
One thing I need you to understand is that your floor is not static and neither is your ceiling. It’s actually fairly common for people to lose even more weight (though slower) as their calories go up.
But does that always happen? No and here is why.
People tend to be a lot more focused on the Fat Loss side and they tend to be “all in” but are often less committed to the reverse because let’s be real, their reverse isn’t the thing they really want.
Or is it?
I would argue that the reverse is much more important than the fat loss cycle because it sets you up for a life of weight management.
Why do I say this?
Let’s do some simple math, you land at 140 rather than 135. You are down 15 pounds and happy to have hit your goal. Will you normalize calories? Maybe a bit, maybe you over do a cheat meal and then go back to being really restrictive and now your weight is 141 and you go to the low calorie whip again (horse racing reference) and maybe that works once or twice.
The issue becomes that you are basically now dieting all of the time rather than re-establishing your metabolism. The highest you get is 1500 calories.
Now let’s do the 135 example, 5 pounds more than you wanted.
You literally go in expecting weight to go up a touch and it’s often surprising how little it does and like I said, for some people it doesn’t at all. Now with your floor and ceiling and the correct approach your calories re-establish at roughly double your lowest.
This does two things:
- First it allows you to hold and build muscle so you continue to get lean. Muscle building is simple, if you don’t give your body enough raw materials your muscle becomes viewed as an energy source for your body and you lose muscle.
- Your metabolic math changes so that if you ever do need to manage weight in the future you have the math to work with. If you play it too safe your metabolic math becomes a detriment.
2a. Often when people get to their lowest they start to see definition and decide that they would like to see more. The higher your calories are when you are weight stable the better chance you have of seeing all of your hard work.
This isn’t an argument for 20 week fat loss cycles, it’s essentially an equation that allows you more success over time and this is how we do it at Eat To Perform.