It is currently Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:09 am
I come down heavily (no pun intended) on the 'eating back calories' side of things. The argument based on the assumption that your net (total, including what you subtract from exercise) calories are still at a level that will cause you to lose weight. For instance, if you need to eat 1300 calories per day to lose weight your body won't care if it's 1300 from food alone, or if you eat 1600 and exercise away 300 calories. It's still getting 1300 calories to maintain your vital organs, a bit more so you don't starve but not enough to maintain your current weight, so you lose weight.
The problem of not eating calories back comes into play when your net calories ends up well below 'starvation level' and, in worst case scenarios, below basic resting metabolism. When you consume fewer than about 1000 calories per day (this level varies between individuals) your body thinks that it is starving, you'll hear this referred to as 'starvation mode' in a lot of weight loss literature. (Edited to add: this is 1000 calories NET, because if you burn 600 calories running then those calories are no longer available for other tasks in the body). In order to preserve itself for the famine ahead your body slows its metabolism and actually changes how you burn off your calories, increasing the percentage of muscle burned and decreasing the percentage of fat burned. So it becomes harder to lose weight and you lose the wrong type of weight. The temptation for many people when confronted with this situation is to lower calorie intake, or increase exercise, to try to lose more weight. This puts the body even further into starvation mode. You may still lose weight doing this, but you are losing a high percentage of muscle and having to cut back calories to dangerous levels. This can then lead to exercise bulimia, where people exercise away too many calories to the point where they no longer have enough net calories to sustain basic resting metabolic rate. In other words they don't have enough calories to fuel their vital organs. I don't need to tell you how dangerous this is.
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