How Cutting Calories Can Make You Fat

Calories in. Calories out. Then you’ll slim down.

That’s what they tell you. Right?

It’s not so simple as just that. Trust me I wish it was it would make my job a heck of a lot easier.

But the truth is there are other factors that are going to prevent you from losing weight if you severely cut your calories, and putting yourself through the ‘hunger pains’ is going to cause you to turn into the Grumpy Cat until you binge eat everything in sight.

Ever heard of cortisol?

It’s a hormone that’s released when your body is put through stress, and it can cause some problems if you’re trying to lose fat.

Of course, having natural amounts of cortisol pumping throughout your body is necessary but excess stress can cause the hormone to be released in fattening amounts.

And a study found that when you severely cut calories you’re also going to cause more cortisol to be released in your body.

If you’ve cut your calories and you turn into a cranky pants then this is a sign your body is going to release cortisol to combat the stress you’re putting your body through.

Cortisol is essentially going to tell your body that it’s ‘flight or flight’ time so you can get through all the stress. Studies have also found a correlation with cortisol and increased abdominal fat meaning it’s going to cause your belly to bulge like you swallowed a basketball.

So what do I tell my clients?

First off, this isn’t a free ticket to eat everything you want in sight. Second, it’s a lot more productive long-term to eat adequate amounts of healthy foods. So if you’re eating 1,500 calories per day make sure those calories come from good sources and not deep fried Snicker bars.

It all comes down to consistently eating clean and not starving yourself in the process. Everybody I’ve ever seen cut their calories too much ended up quitting in a matter of weeks. It’s just not a sustainable dieting practice.

You don’t need to starve yourself to get results. And the good news is you’ll be ridiculously more likely to actually sticking to it than abandoning ship.

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  1. Bobby

    September 18, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Always great stuff. I looked forward to your posts. My question for you is how do you train personally in a week? Do you use circuits, split days, metabolic circuits?


    • jane

      November 24, 2013 at 9:55 am

      I walk my dogs10 to 15 times a day around my house, housework,cook and intereact with my grandchildren.


  2. Gustavo

    October 5, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Hey, I’ve been working out for a while but, I started doing 100%diet lean food, and I lost to much weigh and with that I got cut, I was running every day and woking out + I play tennis and soccer, I was eating 2000 calories until I started losing muscle, I added more calories to my day but the last month I started having severous stress and with that fatigue and I feel tired all day, The problem is that I play tennis in college and I love to workout but this is freaking me out. what can I do??


    • Josh Schlottman

      December 19, 2013 at 6:44 pm

      Make sure you’re getting all the right nutrients into your diet. If you’re feeling tired all the time you may be deficient in something. I’d have your blood work checked. Maybe cut back on the workouts during your tennis season to improve your energy.


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About Josh

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Hey, I’m Josh.

I help good people transform their bodies with smart nutrition & training.

Let’s do this.