Energy balance

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Ryan Day Coaching

Here’s a vocab quiz before we start.

  • Energy Balance = The relationship between energy consumption and energy expenditure.
  • Calories = Our body’s “units” of energy.
  • So, energy balance = the relationship between calories in and calories out. 

Congrats, you get a 100%. Now let’s dig in.

“To lose weight, eat fewer calories.” Sounds simple, right? Maybe initially. But what happens when the scale stops budging, and frustration creeps in?

Or even worse, what happens when you lose some serious weight, only to gain it right back (and then some) after you stopped “dieting.”

It’s like hitting a brick wall and wondering what went wrong. So many people have been down this road, and it’s time to discuss why the “eat less, lose more” mantra has its limits.

The belief that drastic calorie restriction is the ultimate path to weight loss is deeply ingrained.

After all, energy balance is what dictates how much weight we gain or lose.

But here’s the truth: our bodies are not calculators, and weight loss isn’t a linear equation. Calorie reduction strategies are far from a one-size-fits-all solution and tend to overlook the complexity of our biology.

As you lose weight, your metabolism adapts, making it tougher to keep shedding pounds at the same pace. So to say that a calorie deficit guarantees continuous weight loss is unfortunately not true.

Think of it like this: Let’s say you make $5,000/month. All of a sudden, you change career paths and have to take a job that pays less at $4,000/month.

You adjust your lifestyle, cut some expenses, and eventually you learn to live on your new, lower income.

The body does the same thing.

If you’re consuming 2,000 calories per day and then try to lose weight by reducing to 1,500 calories per day, this won’t work forever. Eventually, your body gets used to the new, lower calorie level, and your weight loss stalls.

So what do you do? Keep cutting calories until you’re down to 500 per day? No thanks.

Lucky for us, the body works similarly in the opposite direction.

Sticking with the money analogy: Let’s say you get a series of promotions in your new career, and you go from making $4,000/month to $8,000/month over the next couple years.

You have some lifestyle creep and get a little less tight with your spending now that you’re making more money.

Well, your body will adapt to calories this way too. And notice I said the promotions happen over the next couple years and not immediately.

By gradually increasing your calorie intake in a slow and methodical manner, paired with resistance training, you can slowly increase your metabolism and successfully increase your calorie intake without any material change on the scale.

Why is this important?

It’s important because when you try again to lose weight, you are now starting from a higher level from which you can cut calories while also having a faster metabolism.

Let’s say you increase your calorie intake to 3,000 per day by slowly raising your calories over time while eating a diet that largely contains whole, nutritious foods. Now you have a ton of runway to use for cutting calories.

By methodically cutting your calories and/or increasing your activity level throughout the day, you’ll be in a much better spot to lose weight consistently and sustainably.

We want you to lose weight the right way, not just the fastest way. At the end of the day, most people don’t have a weight loss problem. They have a weight maintenance problem.

So in this case, the right way is the fastest way because you’ll be able to keep the weight off for good rather than having your weight yo-yo for years.

And it’s important to remember – weight loss is just one piece of the puzzle. Health and wellness encompass so much more than numbers on a scale.

But, by being able to consistently eat more calories without gaining weight, you’ll naturally be able to eat more of the oh-so-important micronutrients (fancy word for “vitamins and minerals”) that can really dictate how well our body functions every day.

And I don’t know about you, but it’s way easier for me to eat a pound of french fries than a pound of broccoli.

So if I can get my metabolism where I naturally need to eat more to feel full, maybe I’d be able to get in a pound of broccoli a little bit easier.