When did extreme caloric restriction become so popular? Without being too comprehensive here, three things come to mind:
- When it was discovered that it increases lifespan.
- When the general public became aware that it needed to lose a lot of weight, quickly.
- When the media started bombarding us with images of ultra thin, dare I say anorexic women.
Unfortunately, many women do not know how to cut calories correctly when losing arm fat and end up looking worse on the rebound.
But how did this become so complicated? Can’t you just eat a lot less to lose a lot more? If only it were that easy…
If you want the maximum increase in lifespan a 40% reduction in caloric intake from baseline is required. Anything greater than that and you risk death by starvation and/or malnutrition. We could potentially use this 40% as the maximum allowable caloric reduction when losing arm fat.
But a 40% reduction is still too much because it puts you at risk for the following:
- Decreased bone density.
- Decreased functional strength and metabolism (calories burned by the body 24/7).
- Suppressed output of arm fat burning hormones.
- Compromised immunity.
- Compromised fertility (you could lose your period).
- Increased rate of depression and massive mood swings.
The potential increase in lifespan is simply not worth the decrease in quality of life. What’s the point of living longer if you are going to be miserable?
And don’t be lured in by the rapid weight loss because you WILL rebound.
So what’s a reasonable percentage for caloric restriction? 20%.
And here are 7 things you should NOT be doing to reach this percentage:
- Substituting whole foods with supplements. Not only will whole foods leave you more satisfied, but they will also give you more energy. Don’t fall for all the marketing hype. Only a select few supplements are actually worthwhile.
- Eating 1-2 times per day. When you are restricting calories, eating frequently becomes very very important. If you don’t, you’ll lose too much muscle mass and won’t be able to get proper arm tone.
- Neglecting resistance training. Any time you restrict calories, you will lose muscle mass. There is no way around this unless you take drugs. The best way to minimize a loss in muscle mass (and a drop in metabolism) is with resistance training.
- Avoiding balanced meals with a plethora of dark vegetables. I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but it seems that with all with all the marketing hype out there, women have forgotten that balanced meals with loads of vegetables are still critical for accelerated arm fat loss.
- Increasing activity levels without “cleaning” up the diet. Even if you are an Olympic athlete, you should still be eating healthy foods. I’ve seen multiple case studies of women who are ultra thin and have to undergo a triple bypass. Why? Because their diets are so poor that their arteries get clogged regardless of their body weight.
- Visually reducing the amount you eat. Some women will simply put 25% less food on their plate. It’s not just about eating less, you also have to eat the right types of foods (nutrient density) for the fastest results! Also, if you are not eating nutrient dense foods when losing arm fat, your energy levels will go for a roller coaster ride and you’ll feel absolutely horrible.
- Weighing food. Please do not weigh food to calculate how many calories you are eating. I don’t even recommend this behavior for women that are just starting out and have no idea of proper portion sizes. Not only will weighing food make you hate the whole process, but it also lays the foundation for counterproductive behavior like eating disorders and body image issues. I’ve worked with many women that have these crippling disorders. And trust me, they are CRIPPLING.
So if you are not weighing food, how do you achieve a 20% reduction??? It’s actually a lot easier than you think.
The key is to eat specific foods combined in specific ways. Doing so, will trigger hormonal responses (“feel full” signal to the brain), mechanical responses (a full stomach will activate mechanoreceptors), and cellular responses (more cellular energy per unit of consumed food).
The best way to do this is by assembling meals in terms of 4 food groups: carbohydrates, vegetables, protein and fat.
By doing the above, you will unconsciously eat less. All the triggers and responses happening in your body will make you feel full before eating more calories than you need. It’s really that simple.
Losing arm fat doesn’t have to give you a headache.