Have you found fat loss to get tougher over time?
Do you notice how things like hunger and cravings go up and energy levels decrease?
If you have you aren’t alone, and you aren’t just imagining it.
There is a concept called Metabolic Adaptation.
I wrote a detailed guide on metabolic adaptation that you can read HERE.
Metabolic adaptation aims at decreasing energy expenditure, improving metabolic efficiency, and increasing cues for energy intake (Trexler and colleagues, 2014).
Your body becomes more efficient with the energy you give it. This is most pronounced when you are in an energy deficit.
If you have ever dieted and fat loss has gotten tougher over time, this could be why.
But, people have taken this too far and end up blaming everything on metabolic adaptation.
While it does make it tougher, this doesn’t mean you can’t lose body fat.
In today’s blog, I want to go over some common myths about metabolic adaptation.
Myth 1 Your metabolism is damaged forever
When people hear metabolic adaptation they think that it’s some incurable disease. But this is far from the truth.
Metabolic adaptation is really only pronounced during times when you are in a calorie deficit (read HERE about a calorie deficit).
But once you start to increase your calories again, most of these adaptations will go away and you will start to feel normal again.
Now in saying this, some research does show that when you lose a substantial amount of weight, you will have a metabolism that is a bit slower than expected compared to someone at the same weight who did not lose any weight.
Your metabolism will stay damaged forever if you continue to undereat and try to lose body fat 100% of the time. AKA you continue to do the same thing over and over again. Read HERE about nutrition phases clients go through.
I also wrote an in-depth article on how to reverse diet, with a case study of a client. Read that HERE.
Myth 2 Its the same for everyone
Another myth is that metabolic adaptation will affect everyone the same.
Some people will see more harsh adaptations than others.
For example, one person may see hunger and cravings go through the roof, and energy levels plummet.
Whereas someone else feels mostly normal during a calorie deficit.
You can thank your genetics for this.
The good news is that if you are someone who sees more side effects, you can bet that if we ever have a period of time where we are limited in terms of food availability, you will have a much higher chance of surviving.
It’s just not as helpful with the abundance of high-calorie density food easily available.
Myth 3 It’s 100% a bad thing.
The third myth is that it’s 100% a bad thing.
While it does make fat loss tougher over time, if you dont have any metabolic adaptation at all, you can be sure that you aren’t seeing much if any fat loss progress.
So you need to reframe your thought around metabolic adaptation as a trade-off for seeing fat loss.
Myth 4 Its why you aren’t losing weight
I’ve said this time and time, it does make fat loss tougher over time.
But this isn’t the main reason why you aren’t losing fat.
You arent losing fat because you arent adhering to your plan/calorie deficit.
It could be from a lack of discipline on your part (which metabolic adaptation will make this tougher) but it’s also tough to consistently maintain a calorie deficit day in and day out.
Our environment is the biggest culprit as to why this is tough to maintain.
Another big issue, because of our environment, is that it’s easy to underestimate how many calories you are actually eating.
I wrote about that in-depth HERE.
Metabolic adaptation will make fat loss tougher, but it isn’t 100% to blame, you need to check your adherence to the plan as well.
Myth 5 It’s why you are regaining weight post diet
The last myth is that this is why you see weight gain post-diet.
Again this could be PART of the problem, but the biggest issue at play is that you likely went from having a plan and sticking to it during your fat loss diet, to once the diet was over you went back to what you were doing before or not tracking anything/not having any structure with your nutrition.
The biggest mistake people make post diet is going from 100% in, to 100% off.
The post-diet phase is the MOST important part of the fat loss phase and can’t be skipped.
Read HERE about post-diet mistakes.
There you have it, the most common myth surrounding metabolic adaptation.
The biggest takeaway from this is that metabolic adaptation does make fat loss tougher and you will have to navigate through it, but it isn’t something that will cause you to not lose body fat.
The biggest issue with metabolic adaptation is that your methods are making it more pronounced and you dont have the tools/guidance to work through it.
If this is you, then this is exactly what we work on with my 1:1 online coaching program. Click HERE to see if you would be a good fit.