A lot of people resorting to extreme caloric restriction, some later developing eating disorders as a result, do so in order to lose weight. This is a big mistake.
Coming from a constantly recovering anorectic – still a term I find odd, I do admit – I can tell you from history, you’re screwing yourself and your body over. Deficits are perfectly fine over a short period of time and for a purpose.
Here’s what typically happens when someone eats once a day:
First, you forget to eat breakfast, but you go about your work day. It’s a busy day so you decide to skip lunch. Maybe you snag a bag of chips or an apple so you have something to snack on, at least. Or maybe you tell yourself, “I’ll just eat a little more than usual when I get home, to make up for what I forgot to eat.”
Because your body is running on the energy that you are providing, in this case nothing, you’re getting your energy from muscle and excess fat stores. It runs on that until you eat.
By the time you eat, you put as much as you think you can eat on your plate. That may be anywhere between 300-2000 calories. Soon after, you may stay up to watch some Netflix, do household chores, or maybe you decide to crash instead. All of what you’ve just consumed is being stored for later use. It commonly gets stored in fat because you’re not using that energy/those calories right away.
When you go through that process every day, all of the unused energy is stored and rarely used. It becomes even worse when you throw alcohol into the mix.
Contrary to popular belief, hard liquor is not healthier than beer, malt beverages, or wine. Additionally, clear liquor is not healthier than dark liquor (white vs gold rum/tequila, etc.). I’ve even met people who believed that liquor didn’t contain any calories. They do, in case you were wondering.
Aside from the sometimes less than obvious reason of calories in vs calories out, in the case of alcohol in weight gain, even though you barely eat or eat one good meal a day, if you add alcohol to your daily intake it can complicate the metabolizing process.
When you consume alcohol, it’s split two ways: fat stores and immediate energy. That means that the food already in your system isn’t what you’re using as an energy source: carbohydrates, sugars, fats are now in surplus because your body is using the acetate from alcohol. Where does the surplus go, but to fat storage. In addition, drinking will raise cortisol (causing muscle to break down) and lower testosterone (making it difficult to build muscle).
“I go the whole day without eating, I don’t know why I’m gaining weight.” You need to realize that the first statement is in direct correlation with the second. You’re gaining weight because by the time you eat, your body no longer needs that fuel.
“But you starved yourself and lost 50 lbs!” Yes, I starved myself. I could eat at most half a croissant a day. I drank lots of water to make me feel full, lost my period for a short time, and any time I ate a significant amount (by my standard, which was used to at most 500 calories a day vs the required 1600/day without any activity) I would gain weight.
Want to know how to lose weight without going so long without eating? Stay tuned for next week’s post on guaranteed tips to lose weight. We’re approaching a new year, after all. Why not decide to form sustainable habits? Until next time!