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Dieting and your metabolism

Many people say they have a slow metabolism but do not realize that the dieting habits they believe help them may actually be causing a slow metabolic rate problem and result in slower weight loss.

When considering starting a diet many people are tempted to ‘crash diet’, cutting down on everything they consider to be bad to the absolute basics, seriously restricting calorie intake.

Unfortunately in many cases this simply doesn’t help, it is not good for your health, metabolism and in many cases results in an unsustainable diet.

What happens in a ‘crash diet’ scenario?

It is widely acknowledged that if you do not eat enough calories to maintain your basic needs your body goes into ‘starvation mode’.

During the ‘starvation mode’ your body does what it can to protect its fat stores and instead uses muscle or lean tissue to provide energy instead. As a result, you lose muscle which in turn lowers your metabolic rate.

A lower metabolic rate means you need even less calories to sustain your weight so the result of a crash diet can make it even harder to lose weight!

How many calories should I eat to lose weight?

Everyones metabolic rate varies, however there are scientific calculations used to calculate a figure known as your ‘basal metabolic rate’. This is the amount of calories a typical person of your size and height needs to survive.

In addition to these calories, energy also needs to be accounted for that is used for your normal day to day activities. You burn calories doing almost anything (including watching the tv!) however as you can appreciate an average couch potato uses a lot less energy than an athlete!

Fortunately the Perfect Diet Tracker can calculate these figures for you, taking into account your current weight, height, age and activity level and it will calculate the approximate number of calories you need to maintain your current weight.

But I want to lose weight!

Once you know how many calories you need to maintain your weight, working out how many calories you are allowed if you want to lose weight is easy.

There are 3500 calories in 1lb of fat, so to lose 1lb in a week you need to reduce your calorific intake by 500 calories a day (500 x 7 day = 3500 calories). For 2lbs you would need to reduce your daily intake by 1000 calories.

As before,  the Perfect Diet Tracker will take care of all the calculations for you so whatever you want to lose the software will do the math.

How fast can I lose weight?

Which brings us round to the crash diet scenario, just how much weight can you lose before your body goes into the ‘starvation mode’.

In theory as long as you consume more that your basal metabolic rate you will lose weight, however the recommended maximum weight loss is 2lbs per week with an absolute minimum of 1200 calories per day for women and 1800 for men. This gives a long term sustainable weight loss and helps you adjust your diet as you go along.

If you eat a little too much or too little one week do not panic as starvation mode is not like an on-off switch, it is something that happens gradually if you continue to under eat.

Again, the Perfect Diet Tracker software will warn you if you try to exceed the recommended limits.

Why does less muscle equal a slower metabolism?

Your metabolic rate is partially determined by the amount of muscle you currently have.

Generally speaking, the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate. For example if you are young you generally have more muscle, so you can consume more that when you are old.

When you are dieting you want to try to ensure you are burning fat and not muscle and maintaining a reasonable calorific intake is essential to this long term goal.

Why do the number of calories I need drop when I lose weight?

As you lose weight, there is simply less of you to maintain. If there is one stone less of you to propel upstairs or round the garden, this takes less energy.

Food = calories = energy. A ‘smaller you’ needs less energy, therefore the amount of food you need to consume reduces as you lose weight.

You can of course counter this as you lose weight by increasing your activity level (the amount of calories you burn).

It is all about balance.

What if I have already ‘crash dieted’ and have a very slow metabolic rate?

The first thing to do is not to panic. Nothing is irreversible!

You should consult your doctor and tell them your concerns. You can use the software to find out and track how many calories you need to maintain your current weight. With your doctors permission, incorporating an increase in exercise should find you start to re-gain muscle and in turn this will increase your metabolic rate.

Once you are back level you can start a sustained and long term weight loss plan to help you lose weight and keep it off.

It all sounds very complicated!

Don’t worry, this is why the Perfect Diet Tracker software exists and can help you lose weight.

It will take your current details, and targets and create a daily calorific target for you.

It will help you keep track of what you are eating so you can see quickly and easily which foods you are eating too much of, and which you can eat more of, and it will help you maintain a balanced diet which is essential to good health.

As you lose weight the software will automatically adjust the targets, and if you find you are becoming more active you can also adjust you activity level and let the software re-work out new target figures. Everything is taken care of for you so you can concentrate on finding your perfect diet!

Download your free trial now…

To download your free 7 day trial click here.

You get full access to all the software features including the extensive food database and you will soon be able to see how many calories you should consume to achieve the weight loss you want, while protecting your current metabolic rate.

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