Signs It Might Be Time To Eat More Food.
This is the time of year, even when I say it’s a bad idea, people still decide they want to diet. So, instead of telling you why it’s a bad idea, I’m taking a new approach – let’s talk about how to know when you should eat more instead of dieting.
This is for you if: you’ve been dieting and you’re struggling, you know it’s time for you to eat more & you don’t know what to do, and/ or if you have no clue what’s going on but you know you need some sort of support.
#1 You’ve been in a calorie deficit for 12+ weeks?
If you’ve been eating in a deficit for more than 12 weeks, it’s probably a good idea to give yourself a diet break and focus on refuelling your body.
#2 You’re hungry alllllllll the time?
Some hunger is normal in a calorie deficit, but if you’re insatiable always, OR if you’re never hungry, that’s a big red flag right there that it’s time to eat more.
#3 You’re no longer seeing progress?
When you get to this place, there are only 2 options: continue to reduce calories, or slowly work your way back up to your maintenance calories again.
#4 Your sleep has been rubbish?
Sleep is a great litmus test – if you normally sleep well and all of a sudden you’re not waking up refreshed, you’re waking up throughout the night, or you’re having trouble falling asleep, that’s no bueno.
#5 Workouts have been rubbish?
This could be motivation being extra low, recovery taking longer, or not having the energy to even give 70-80% in the gym.
You Can’t LIVE in a calorie deficit
The problem with staying in a calorie deficit for an extended period of time is that research shows that your body will adapt to that new “normal”.
Our bodies prioritise sending fuel/ nutrients to our vital organs (lungs, heart, brain) first, and all other processes are down-regulated to conserve energy. That means you’ll talk slower (or less), walk slower, move less, even blink less.
You know that NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) plays a huge role in your metabolism, so if all these NEAT scores decrease, that means our metabolism is slowing down.
WHICH IS WHY you can not stay in a deficit for extended periods of time. It literally stops working.
Generally speaking, you want to periodise your training and nutrition in order to get the most out of the work you put into the gym. That means having a designated time frame to focus on getting stronger, building muscle (and also consequently putting on some body fat), then having a designated period of shedding the body fat to reveal the muscle you’ve built. You can’t do the second part (show the muscle) if you didn’t prioritise building the muscle first.