Even though this might go against ‘common wisdom’, you’re going to have to eat more, at least for a little while. Yes, you read that right – eat more, not less. You might find it hard to wrap your head around this concept, but trust me, it’s necessary. However, just ramping right up to an appropriate caloric intake isn’t necessarily the right approach for everyone. There is more than one way to approach the repair but I’d suggest you do it in steps – systematic and regular increases. This has the benefit of one, allowing you to gradually get used to eating more food, two, potentially preventing some fat regain, and three, maybe even causing some fat loss. So one approach is to determine how much you’re eating on an average day and then take your present intake and just add 10-20% to it every few days until you hit maintenance calories.
Now that you’ve decided to take control of your metabolism and have adjusted your calories to maintenance levels, you want to maintain this level of calories for at least two weeks. Then once things are humming along again, you can return to a caloric deficit. Might you gain some weight at maintenance? Maybe, but some will surely be water, muscle glycogen, etc. Basically nothing to worry about – easy come, easy go. Again, long term versus short term thinking. You need to correct the problem before you can move past it. Two weeks at maintenance will make further fat loss much more likely when you return to your caloric deficit. Chances are you’ll start feeling a lot better though, and you’ll have some great workouts.
There are many great, yet underused fat-loss strategies out there. Planned periods at maintenance eating can be found near the top of that list. Remember, the purpose of the two weeks at maintenance calories isn’t to maintain; it’s to make the subsequent calorie deficit more effective at fat loss. Think of it as a ‘resetting of the system’. Then you hit your deficit again and presto, more fat loss.
With a slow metabolism you can generally assume somewhere in the neighbourhood of 14x bodyweight is going to approximate maintenance calories. It might even be a bit lower depending on how severe your caloric deficit has been and for how long, but keep in mind that metabolism is only going to slow so much. It doesn’t shut off. These maintenance numbers are an approximation, but so are the more complicated equations that can be used to determine caloric requirements. Read more about Maintenance Calories and Continued Fat Loss .
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