The same way you don’t wear the same clothes all year round (even if you live in SoCal), you can’t stay in a calorie deficit all year round. Sorry, not sorry. Your body cannot withstand being in a calorie deficit all year and actually give you the results you want. Have you ever gone on a diet (or reduced your caloric intake) and eventually stopped losing weight? That’s essentially your body’s way of telling you it has gotten accustomed to those new calories. In order for you to lose more weight, you’d need to cut your calories down even more. For people in a caloric deficit (without the guidance of a coach- or even with the guidance of a bad coach), that might mean you’re eating a very low amount of calories to begin with, and to see any real change on the scale you’d have to significantly reduce those calories even more.That means if you were eating 1200-1400 calories on your diet, you’d need to cut 400-500 calories from that. Just to put it into perspective, a 2 year old needs roughly 1,200 calories daily.
SO WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO IF WE WANT TO BE LEAN, BUT CAN’T LIVE IN A CALORIE DEFICIT?
The same way the Earth goes through seasons, so should you. There is a time to diet (if that’s actually what you want), a time to reverse diet (building calories back to maintenance), and a time to eat at maintenance calories- there might also be a time to build if you are looking to get stronger AND leaner.
Why do we need these seasons? You put a lot of stress on your body- you work out, you have a job (probably), and you have some sort of personal/family/social life. Your body can’t tell the difference between psychological or physiological stress, and it responds the same way, so even if you feel like you’re relieving stress by drilling yourself into the ground with exercise, you’re actually putting a greater demand on your body to recover. Being in a caloric deficit is also stressful on your body- there are not as many nutrients going around to fuel/sustain your organs. The human body is super resilient, and so you can get away with some added stress for a short period of time before feeling the deleterious effects. But eventually, your body either adapts to the stress placed on it by shutting down or pausing other processes (sometimes digestion- aka bloating, problems digesting foods) to make sure it can keep you alive to continue fighting off this imaginary threat (in the form of all the stress you’re piling on).
THE SOLUTION? STOP LIVING IN A CALORIE DEFICIT.
Here's how it works when I onboard a new client: