Do you ever get disappointed when you stand on the scales after a week of eating well and regularly exercising? Do you dread the number on the scales after a big weekend of eating and drinking, only to be pleasantly surprised to find out you’ve not put on any weight? You would think a few dinners out over the weekend with drinks and nibbles would pack on a kilo or two. Similarly, fasting, or eating smaller portions without snacking should decrease your weight quickly…. We know, however, this may not always be the case.
We’ve always been taught calories in equals calories out, not surprisingly, our body’s processes are a little more complicated than this. In fact, our body can adapt to different states of feast or famine – and this can be explained scientifically through what is known as adaptive thermogenesis.
Before I explain this concept, let’s take a step back talk about another important concept, homeostasis.
The human body strives for homeostasis - a state of balance or equilibrium. - Our metabolism (our body’s energy burning capabilities) is adapted to speed up and slow down as required. Our ancestors evolved to survive periods of famine, without enough food to support their energy needs, and amazingly, their bodies were able to conserve and burn less fuel than normal when food was scarce.
On the other hand, in times of plenty, the metabolism is able to ramp up and burn more fuel– this is called adaptive thermogenesis.
Now to the modern world, where food is usually plentiful, our bodies try to maintain homeostasis, and so over time it can adapt to an increase in calories (energy) – storing the excess as fat. They can also adapt to a gradual decrease in calories, which would result in weight loss...
Short sharp changes in energy intake will probably influence weight less than you may think.
So to think of this practically, an occasional slip up, or big meal on the weekend, is not going to have a hugely detrimental effects to overall weight loss goals. It’s the everyday, regular run-of-the-mill meals and snacks that will have the biggest influence.
So if you feel like you could do with losing a little weight, make small and consistent changes to how much you eat and keep going with it. It may take time but the rewards will be worth it.
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