I'm just eating, but my body is not changing. Why?

    Abdulaziz Sobh

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    He tells me if this sounds familiar ...

    You are a female athlete.

    Train hard and do it 5 to 6 days a week.

    You want to be in your BEST state for the next season.

    But your weight and body composition are simply not changing.

    One week, between training, school, and work, you just do not have much time to eat. The scale moves a little downwards. It feels good to see something happen. Then you start eating a little less. After all, it saves time and it seems that you are going in the right direction.

    But then the progress stops again.

    During your training, you feel fatigued. You keep pushing more, but the composition of your body will not move. You feel defeated. With your season just around the corner, you're already stressed.

    You think to yourself ... "How could I work so hard and not get results?"

    The unfortunate truth is that it happens ALL THE TIME, both for the occasional assistance of the gymnasium and for the professional athletes! For athletes, whose body composition is often closely related to their performance, it can be a vicious circle.

    If an athlete does not see the results she is looking for immediately, she may try "MORE", which often equals:

    Harder training
    Resting LESS
    AND REDUCING what she eats.
    While it seems that these are the logical things you should do when you reach a performance break or a plateau of fat loss when you are in a chronic state of fuel shortage, you will recede even further from your goals.

    The biggest mistake female athletes make is not eating enough.
    Many women respond to the lack of progress by pushing harder instead of recognizing that their nutrition is not meeting their demands. If your body has a caloric deficit for too long, it adapts. In this adapted state, your body decreases its metabolic rate as a survival tactic. He just does not know how long or how severe this calorie restriction will be, so he adapts using limited resources.

    Thus, you end up burning fewer calories. When it comes to fat loss, a caloric deficit is a king. But when your metabolism decreases in this way, achieving a caloric deficit becomes extremely difficult.

    If you feel that you are killing yourself in the gym and you are just eating something, but you are not seeing any changes in your body, you should start eating more. The goal is to slowly introduce more food through a "maintenance diet" to allow your metabolism to recover. This recovery period allows you to increase the amount of energy your body needs to perform daily tasks! Which means you can eat MORE to maintain your current weight and improve your performance.

    Before delving into what a maintenance diet is and how it can improve your performance, we first want to talk about the dangers of chronic lack of nutrition. Here there are four main problems posed by the existence of a constant caloric deficit.

    1. Dangerous levels of stress
    Putting some stress on the body is good. In fact, it is necessary if you want to force your body to adapt.

    But not eating enough food for a long time SLOW the ability of your body to recover, adapt and, ultimately, improve.

    This is why an athlete with little fuel will see a plateau in their progress. Your body is too stressed trying to "survive" in order to adapt and make the progress it wants!

    This physical stress is bad enough. But what about the mental stress of chronic fuel failure? An athlete not only sees a slower physical recovery when she does not have enough fuel but she also:

    He has trouble concentrating during the game.
    He often feels defeated, irritable or angry
    He loses his mental resistance and the desire to strive.
    If your sport is team-based or high-intensity, this is a recipe for low performance!

    2. Tired, sick and injured
    Putting your body under chronic stress increases your risk of injury.

    Every time you train without eating enough to recover, you are only increasing the level of stress instead of helping to eliminate it! This increases your chances of injury and increases the time it will take to recover from any injury that you are breastfeeding or will suffer.

    All this adds to the fact that you spend more time out of the field, cutting or monitoring of nursing injuries. Nothing should stand between you and your best. If you have noticed more tensions and pains, and they last longer than they used to, this is your body that warns you that you may not be getting what you need to recover.

    3. goodbye, muscle
    When your body is stressed, it releases hormones (chemical messengers) that help direct the rest of the body's response to the situation. When stressed, the types of hormones released are usually catabolic, which means that they destroy tissues like muscles.

    In response to stress such as strength training, muscle degradation is good. This breakdown paves the way for adaptation. But to reach an anabolic state that allows us to be faster, be more fit and gain more muscle mass, we must provide our body with the macronutrients it needs to repair microscopic tears in our muscle fibers.

    But if you do not eat enough to allow your body to respond adequately to this stress, it will deprive you of the components and energy you need to create improvements. Therefore, your workouts are no longer building your body. Even sofa addicts will lose weight when they eat below their energy demands. This is because eating under your energy demands forces your body to find fuel within itself to burn. When done well, this means converting primarily to fat. But when chronically undernourished and overworked, it also means burning a lot of muscle!

    4. Do not lose fat!
    The science is clear. To lose mass, you need to be in a caloric deficit. This means burning more energy than you are taking.

    But when you do not eat enough calories for an extended period of time, your body goes into survival mode, as we discussed earlier. Finally, your body adapts to the current state of diminished energy supply and realizes how to survive with that supply without continuing to break the tissues to make up for the deficit.

    This adaptation of a slower metabolism is the way your body survives and protects the tissues (including fat stores) that you already have. Your body is intelligent and knows that if you are not supplying it with enough energy, it is better to start conserving the stored energy that you already have.

    Not eating enough for a long time means that you could see the opposite effect of what you want in your body. The lack of chronic nutrition is a stressor for the body. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, increase the visceral storage of fat cells around your stomach, waist, and thighs.

    When you are chronically stressed, it is no longer necessary to eat more signals to your body that this "survival mode" is no longer necessary. This decrease in stress through an increase in food allows your metabolism to recover. A recovered metabolism is an elegant way of saying that you can burn more energy both at rest and during any activity.

    In short, by slowly introducing more food, your body will leave the survival mode and begin to function in a more optimal way: one way was to make the changes you want to see in your body to be possible again.

    In short, if you are training hard but observe some of the following:

    Not seeing the winnings you want.
    Have stuck or rejected in your training progress
    He regularly feels fatigued, irritable or defeated.
    Having noticed a loss in muscle definition.
    Have noticed a loss or dysfunction in menstruation.
    ... It's time to reconsider your nutrition. Now, let's talk about how a maintenance diet can help you recover.

    Do I need to "reset" my metabolism?
    No, because you can not "restart" a metabolism. However, it can help it work more smoothly by reducing stress.

    If you have been insufficiently fed for too long, you need to relieve some of the stress.

    This does not mean taking home an extra-large pizza and combining it with one side of Ben & Jerry's for a few nights in a row (although a little indulgence is perfectly healthy and good). Introducing too many calories too fast can promote fat gain, so what you do not want to do is suddenly add 1,700 calories to your daily intake.

    What we do want to do is to take your body out of the survival mode slowly:

    A gradual increase in caloric intake.
    Increase the frequency of your meals (especially if you have skipped meals!)
    Maintain a balanced macro proportion that matches your activity level
    When the body begins to recognize ...

    "Hey, they're really going to feed me on a regular basis!"

    ... Reduces the production of stress hormones, increases the metabolic rate of each process performed by your body and allows you to finally recover and improve.

    More calories equal less stress, less stress equals a faster metabolism and a faster metabolism equals more total calories burned. Science for victory!

    Chronic fuel insufficiency reduces your potential and your overall well-being. But once you return to a state in which your body is healthy enough to change significantly, how do you keep it there?

    The female athlete fully fed
    High-performance athletes know: meal plans are not a "configure it and forget it" thing.

    Your nutritional needs change with the seasonality of your sport, your current level of activity and your future goals, such as your training regimen!

    How do you know if you're eating enough?

    There are some formulas that can give you an estimate of your dietary needs.

    One popular is the Harris-Benedict equation. The exact formula is described here. Although these formulas could put you at the stage of your daily calorie burn, the problem is this: these equations are just an estimate.

    The best an athlete can do is establish a nutrition coach that takes into account all the variables of his athletic performance.

    Such variables include:

    Your current activity levels, per day. This could mean having a meal plan that changes day by day, whether you are resting, training or doing an activity.
    Your body composition
    Many female athletes sacrifice their performance in pursuit of body aesthetics that they believe values ​​society. This type of narrow body is simply unrealistic and, honestly, at odds with being a strong and high performing athlete.

    However, with the right guidance about your macronutrient ratios that depend on your activity levels, not only will your performance improve, but the composition of your body will reflect this improved performance.

    Any dietary restriction that you have
    If you are an athlete with dietary restrictions, it is essential that you work closely with a nutrition coach who understands the macronutrients and micronutrients that should be prioritized in your diet. (PS ... look at my new food pyramid for female athletes)

    And, most importantly, what you want to achieve!
    There are healthy ways to change the composition of your body. But there are no quick fixes: cleanings, meal replacements, and detox diets are scams. And as we explained in great detail, eating too little will not get you where you want either. If you really want to achieve your performance and aesthetic goals, it takes time, adherence to scientific principles and consistency!

    Working with a nutrition coach assures you that you are not sabotaging your goals by accidentally committing these common mistakes!

    Lack of fuel is a big problem for athletes. The pressures of society lead us to believe that we always need to train more and eat less. But these ideas simply go against science and leave you stuck in routines in which you are exhausted, tired, frustrated and are performing poorly. It is also important to realize that the female athlete should not be obsessed with a number on a scale. Focusing more on how your clothes fit and how you are doing in training and competition is a much smarter approach than relying on whether you have succeeded or failed completely in a number on the scale.

    If you want to improve your performance and you want body composition to match those goals, it's time to consider whether you're eating enough food.

    When it comes to feeding athletes, often MORE FOOD will guide you in the direction of the best performance and aesthetics you're looking for!

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