Eating less is bad

Fitness training with Nicky Holland

Let’s say you are trying to lose weight. You see in magazines that you need to eat less. It says it on the tv and on social media that you need to eat less too. So, you give it a try, struggling every day to “be good” and “say no” to most foods because you believe that eating less is how you lose weight. You are in a constant battle with your brain where a part of you wants to lose weight and the other part is really, really hungry. The issue here is that this can be more unhealthy than eating the way you were before as your body becomes malnourished.

Over the past few years, the term calorie deficit has been used A LOT. In this article we will look at the healthiest way you can lose weight and hopefully you will have a better understanding of the basic terms and what you need to do. A calorie deficit is basically creating a deficit from energy balance. To put it simply, energy balance is based on input vs output.

The best way to look at this is shown below:

INPUT (calories consumed) = OUTPUT (calories burned)

If the calories you consume are the same as the calories you burn each day, there will be no change in weight. This is maintenance.

If the calories you consume are more than the calories burned each day, this causes a positive energy balance, also known as a calorie surplus. This is where you would gain weight.

If the calories you consume are less than the calories burned each day, this creates a negative energy balance, known as a calorie deficit. This is where you would lose weight.

So how is eating less bad? Let me explain to you BMR

 Basal Metabolic rate (BMR) is how many calories you burn each day, how many calories you need each day and how many calories your body requires to stay alive and maintain its weight.

For example, if you lay in bed all day, you would burn approximately 1500-2000 calories. Grab a piece of paper and use the Harris-Benedict equation below to calculate your daily calorie intake. All you need is your weight in KG, your height in CM and your age.


BMR = 66 + (13.7 x KG) + (5 x CM) – (6.8 x Age)


BMR = 665 + (9.6 X KG) + (1.8 x CM) – (4.7 x Age)

Then multiply that number above, by how active you are each day from the options below.

Sedentary = BMR x 1.2 (minimal exercise per week)

Light = BMR x 1.375 (moderate exercise 1 to 3 days per week)

Moderate = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise 3 to 5 days per week)

Very Active = BMR x 1.725 (hard exercise 6 to 7 days per week)

Now that you know your BMR, you can start to track your calories each day. I use the app MyFitnessPal to do this, which records all the food and drink I consume. You’ll be surprised how many calories are in certain foods when you track it on the app. You can also monitor your Macronutrient split. For example, how many of your daily calories come from Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats.

If you eat considerably less than your BMR number, by 500-1000 calories a day, you are running the risk of storing more body fat not losing any. You will put extra stress on your hormones and immune system which could make you sick more frequently, and you will decrease muscle mass. Not eating enough calories can affect your concentration levels, make you feel sleepy and reduce your energy levels.

The key is to make sure you are eating a balanced diet and enough calories to function. Be smart in how you manage your input and output.

Sometimes you don’t need to eat less, you just need to exercise more”.

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