Are Low Calories for Fast Weight Loss Really That Bad?

Low calories. Fast weight loss. Are they really as bad as people think? For most they fucking suck, but some thrive on them. For the record 1-2lbs a week is ideal for most depending on leanness for fat loss, as adherence and muscle maintenance is easier. But preference always matters, and the low calorie phobia can get intense at times.

Being in a deficit does come with negative adaptations, and the longer you're in a deficit, as well as how deep the deficit is, can affect how much these plague you. Low calories can lead to muscle loss, binging, generally feeling awful, hormonal issues (including libido issues and even loss of periods for women) and other shitty things. However dieting down to low body fat slower can cause the same issues, it's not just the low calories causing it. Energy availability matters too (the leaner you are the worse the problems are).

Now low calories also have positives for some, the main one obviously being faster fat loss. Fast results can also motivate someone to keep going or be used as a kickstart for someone lacking motivation to get started. And while most people do terrible on low calories, some people feel great. Specificity is key in this field.

Before discussing the correctish way to utilize low calories, I should address the metabolic component. Adaptive thermogenesis isn't likely to even amount to 10-15% in all but extreme circumstances, and in a large deficit will absolutely never lead to a halt in tissue loss (scale can stall due to water fluctuations tho). You will never stop using stored energy from eating too little. If someone can find a way to make women gain fat on 800 calories a day with multiple hours of daily cardio like our favorite anti-guru guru has claimed happens they'll win a nobel prize for solving world hunger.

The best way to do low calories is called a psmf (protein sparing modified fast). Lyle McDonald's Rapid Fat Loss Handbook is a book containing the best example of a well written psmf imo. Read it if you're interested in this. The general idea is high protein (1.4g/lb fat free mass at least), and then essentially just fibrous veggies with it. Food selections are pretty limited obviously. Taking fish oil at a pretty high dose ensures you get EFA's (essential fatty acids) in, so offsets the very low fat intake. You want about 3g of epa/dha combined, which is about 10 of the capsules i have. Training volume should generally be low with a focus on maintaining strength, although higher volume can work for some too. Cardio should be minimal and not too intense, i like liss for it. Lyle has a lot more guidelines that are great, I can't stress how great his book on the topic is enough.

Oh and please people, stop the "you want to lose on as high as possible so you have somewhere to go when you stall." That idea is a pet peeve of mine because it's ridiculous. If you start very low you likely won't stall (apart from water issues), and if you do stall the lower you start the longer it'll take you to. That argument is similar to the high meal frequency for metabolism myth, because it ignores the fact it'll even out anyways. Start as high as you can and stall soon, start lower and stall later. It comes down to preference.

Here's a fairly recent 17 day cut where a low calorie diet like this was a key component. 215-193lbs. Personally i love low calories as they motivate me, although I rarely use them with clients as most don't do well on them. If you think you sound similar to me, and fast results will motivate you, contact us and we can help you lose the fat you want to as fast as safely possible.

 Coach Jason VanEpps loses 22lbs in 17 days. Contact us for safe, fast weight loss.

Coach Jason VanEpps loses 22lbs in 17 days. Contact us for safe, fast weight loss.