Many people seek the support of a nutrition coach when they have tried numerous things on their own and have not had long-term success. When we start working with new clients who have a long history of dieting, we often start by bringing their calories up to maintenance.
Maintenance is a calculation of how many calories you can eat to maintain your current weight (within a few pounds), considering your age, weight, height, activity level and job.
We keep the calories around maintenance and monitor biofeedback — energy and hunger levels, sleep, stress, mood, and digestion. We ensure these markers are in a good place while ensuring clients are eating enough protein, building their meals properly, drinking enough water, and having the energy to workout.
What happens when we live in a chronic calorie deficit?
Living in a deficit for an extended period can have many negative adaptations. It can lead to increased cortisol, increased inflammation, decreased leptin, and increased ghrelin, and our metabolism adapts to lower calories. Meaning it takes more cardio and fewer calories to lose weight in the long run. On the extreme end, this can even cause issues with thyroid function, sex hormones, digestion, sex drive, energy, sleep, immune system, and cognitive function.
How do we avoid this?
Starting with our maintenance calories gives us a solid foundation (when the time is ready) to create a deficit. When a client is in a fat loss phase we monitor our biofeedback markers weekly and make adjustments as needed. We never stay in the deficit for too long (no more than 12-16 dedicated weeks) and use strategies like diet breaks to ensure there are no negative adaptations.
Book a consult to learn more and create a proper nutrition periodization plan for your goals.