“Eat less; move more to lose weight.” Sounds simple, but it’s not very accurate. This is why the next signpost is extremely important. The constellation Fornax isn’t associated with any mythology. Its name means “furnace,” and how a furnace works is a great analogy on how our body functions. A furnace needs fuel to burn and give off heat. Our body needs fuel (calories) to burn to maintain a balanced metabolism.
The effective way to lose weight is indeed to take in fewer calories than you burn, but you may go too far if you aren’t careful. If you don’t properly fuel your furnace, you may go into starvation mode. If this happens, it’s not healthy and you won’t lose weight … even if you eat less and move more. You will plateau.
This could explain why you’re wondering how you didn’t lose weight one week when you thought you increased your physical activity and reduced your caloric intake. Your body is shutting down and your furnace isn’t being properly fueled for maximum efficiency. You’ll start to store fat as your body tries to adjust and prepare for a possible long-term reduction of fuel.
Cutting back too far on your fuel intake is easy to do because we’re conditioned by weight-loss gurus to eat less, move more, eat less, move more, etc. However, as we learned from another signpost, you must have balance. Do not get frustrated and overcompensate, getting caught in a yo-yo cycle.
There are inner signs to help and let you know if you’ve gone too far in reduction of your caloric intake. Any of the following may be a signal for you to turn it around. You may become lethargic, not wanting to engage fully in physical activity. You may become moody or snap at people around you. You may always feel hungry and start binging. You may have constant thirst. Your weight doesn’t go up or down, adding to your frustration.
Severely limiting your intake of calories is counterproductive. It won’t help your physical or mental health. Fine-tune your furnace and properly fuel it. Instead of focusing on eating less, try to remember another phrase: “For a healthy life, you must have a balanced diet.” (And I’m not fueling.)
This is part 14 of the multipart series, “Aim for the Stars.” In my next blog, we’ll look to the constellation Leo.
Missed the beginning of our journey through the constellations? Check out the rest of Aim for the Stars.