Ever wonder where all those calories go from the food you eat? Here is a quick breakdown…
Muscle accounts for 16% of your basal metabolic rate (BMR), about 280 calories per day (that’s about 6 calories per day per pound).
Your skin burns about 30 calories per day.
Each pound of fat burns about 2 calories per day, say you weigh 150 lbs and have 25% body fat, that is about 75 calories per day.
Your heart burns about 192 calories in a day assuming it beats at around 60 beats per minute for 24 hours.
Your lungs burn about 80 calories per day.
Your kidneys burn about 140 calories per day.
Your liver burns about 300 calories per day.
Your gastrointestinal tract burns about 275 calories per day for the average adult.
Your brain burns about 300 calories per day.
If you add that all up that comes out to be 1642 calories per day and that doesn’t account for all the processes in the body! It also doesn’t account for ANY MOVEMENT OR EXERCISE.
It is also not individualized either, so you may burn more or less.
The point here is that our body requires energy to operate, and it takes far more energy than you thought to just “keep the lights on”.
Compare the number of calories above to what most people try to survive on calorically…the ever popular 1200 calorie diet.
How many of those 1200 calorie diets are made up of organ meats, small oily fish, bivalves, red meat, and dairy products? Very few. So not only are you eating less than you need to survive (by a lot) you are likely starving yourself of many of the micronutrients your body needs as well.
Your body is very resilient, and it can survive for quite a long time without enough calories and without the proper micronutrients but it’s temporary. Go for too long in this state and you can start to see adaptations in order to conserve energy.
Hormone levels start to decline.
Muscle mass begins to decline.
Mental focus wanes.
Internal body temperature will drop.
Movement will decline subconsciously.
Immune function declines.
Your body is going to do everything it can to not burn more calories than it needs to and eliminate bodily functions not necessary for survival.
At some point your need to consume food will override whatever mental will power you have and you will crack and go all out eating everything in sight. It’s natural, again your body is looking to survive.
It is true that you need a caloric deficit to lose body fat.
Extreme long term caloric deficits are not necessary though, and are most likely doing more harm than good.
We need to move away from this “eat less” mentality.
We need to shift to a mentality of abundance, we need to move to an eat more mentality. My goal for my clients is to eat as much as possible while remaining weight stable. Ideally I want to find the point where my clients tell me I am so full I am uncomfortable eating whole foods, but yet the scale stays still.
The benefit is that we are giving the body more than enough calories to do what it needs to do.
- Calories are high enough
- Nutrient density should be high due to the whole food consumption
- We should be consuming enough calories to turn anything extra into lean muscle mass (assuming we are also strength training, which my clients always are)
This state is what is optimal in our world of abundance and allows you to enjoy the food you eat, optimize your health, and even build a little lean mass along the way. Now if your goal is to lose body fat then it is as simple as eating a little less, but it’s not starvation and it feels relatively easy to accomplish because it’s not an extreme level of dieting.
If you want to understand more about how you can use this approach and the other tactics I use with my clients to help them achieve their goals, sign up for my newsletter below to get weekly emails with actionable steps you can incorporate into your life.