The concepts behind calorie throttling are not my discovery. Over years of weight cutting, I explored several practices of dieting suggested by others. Based on what I’ve learned and what I’ve experienced, calorie throttling provides a successful blue print on how and what to eat to lose extra body fat.
How Does Your Body Count Calories?
Here is a rosy scenario: MyFitnessPal says you are at 1,300 of your max 1,500. Perfect! At midnight, your body will take inventory of what you ate today and reward you with fat loss because you are below your target.
I wish it was this easy. The truth is that your body has the opportunity to store calories as fat after every meal. This opportunity is based on how much room is available in cells for calorie storage at the time.
Your body burns (metabolizes) foods at different speeds depending on the macro-nutrient makeup of the food. Simple carbs like high fructose corn syrup burn like gasoline. Carbs like white flour burn like wood chips. Complex carbs and fiber burn slower, like sticks. Protein and fat burn slow like logs. 100 calories from high fructose corn syrup are in your bloodstream within minutes, while 100 calories from a fatty cut of steak are slowly introduced into your bloodstream over a much longer period of time.
Each Meal Matters
As you metabolize food, the calories from the food become available in your bloodstream. If you are eating something that you recently stalked, persistence hunted and killed, the calories would go toward restoring the glycogen stores you depleted in your muscles through your efforts. If your muscles have no room for the calories, they may go into fat deposits to get you through the rest of your day. This “may” depends on your current insulin levels. Quick burning macro-nutrients result in high levels of insulin and high fat deposits.
Put simply, if your 400 calorie meal is metabolized over a 1 hour period, those 400 calories will be used to fill in any cells that have or make room over that hour and the remainder will be deposited as fat. The same applies to a 200 calorie meal that requires 2 hours to metabolize. Over time, general movement such as walking, standing, sitting, etc. creates room in cells; this is your “general metabolism”. So the more time it takes to metabolize a calorie, the less likely it will be stored in a cell instead of fat. If we make more room before a meal by adding intentional movement, such as exercise, fat storage is less likely.
How to Leverage this Information
Based on the information above, there are a few tweaks we can make to when and what we eat to accelerate healthy weight loss and prevent fat deposits:
- Eat mostly logs: A diet of slow burning macro-nutrients is ideal. Reduce or eliminate the gasoline and wood chips. Rely on protein, fat and fiber for slow-burn calories.
- Split your meals: If you eat three meals a day, split them into six. Take your breakfast and cut it in half…right down the middle. Eat one portion now and one portion three hours from now. Do the same for lunch and dinner. It’s important that you don’t create a large portion just because you know it’s going to be split. Stick to a single portion and cut it in half. Example meal times are 6 am, 9 am,12 pm, 3 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm.
- Make a room before each meal: Your normal walking and movement between meals will help create room in your cells for calorie storage. In this case, the more room the better. Ideally you’ll find a way to perform some form of exercise before each meal. You don’t need to be dripping with sweat. A couple of sets of push ups or body weight squats to failure will do when you are short on time and don’t want to freak out your co-workers. The movement before the last meal of the day will be critical. If you are anything like me, you have a lot of down time towards the end of your day. Before this meal, your cells won’t have a lot of room unless you make it.
Calorie throttling is a simple way to leverage when and how your body stores calories. The hard part is controlling the urge to eat more than 1/2 portion. I suggest storing the portions in separate containers. Waiting three hours between meals is not as bad as it seems. For me, knowing that I’m going to eat again soon decreases urges to snack.
I hope the calorie throttling hack helps you reach your goal. Plan well and stay strong!