So you have probably heard that if you want to lose weight you need to follow this simple rule:

Calories In – Calories Out = Weight Loss

It seems simple enough, and I remember thinking this. All I needed to do was just eat less and burn more in a workout and I would instantly step into my transformation.

But as the years (and diet attempts) added up, I found that I was gaining more weight. I was exhausted, inflamed, insecure, uncomfortable, and frustrated. What was wrong with me? It should be simple, right?

Wrong. And if you are struggling with this same cycle, I see you. And even better, I have answers and solutions for you.

This is such a gross oversimplification of how your system functions it might as well be a straight-up myth.

And following this principle as law is absolutely why you are eating 1200 calories like a squirrel but cannot seem to drop a pound (and you might even be gaining).

Why This Math Don’t Math

The problem with this rationale is it fails to account for the unique hormonal fluctuations that you have across your cycle and the important influence that your hormones have over your metabolic function.

In fact, every single aspect of your metabolic function is regulated by your hormones. Across your 28-day cycle, your hormone levels shift dramatically, influencing everything from your mood, productivity levels, desire to socialize, metabolic rate, metabolic efficiency, and ability to handle workout intensities.

What this means is that your body’s ability and willingness to burn fat and calories across your cycle changes. So if you are trying to force it by eating the same calories each and every day, or performing the same intense workouts – it is going to cause serious hormone disruption.

Trying to force your body to perform at the same rate is based on the male hormone cycle, which is 24 hours. When we expect this, it quickly leads to burn out and is often why it is so unattainable to sustain.

Moreover, chronic dieting and deprivation of calories can trigger the Famine Response.

The Famine Response = Weight Gain

Your body is your biggest ally and has one primary goal – to keep you alive at all costs. This mechanism has been great for helping to survive super extreme environments like famine, war, and droughts that we more frequently experienced as our societies were developing.

But the game is not the same anymore. But your body hasn’t quite figured that out.

When there is a perceived threat to the body (aka not eating enough or enough potential food resources), this increases the stress response. Cortisol (stress hormone) is released and it is designed to help activate the sympathetic nervous system to help your body immediately survive the stressor.

Cortisol is a fat storage and conservation hormone. Your body has no idea when you are going to break the diet and give it enough for optimal function, so it focuses on placing a “biological halt” on all nonessential functions like hormone production, fat loss, lean mass development, and ovulation until it knows you will have enough energy again.

But if you chronically diet, cut out more foods, restrict even more – that never happens.

As a result inflammation skyrockets (cue puffy face), insulin is disrupted (cue energy swings, inflammation in the body, cravings), and leptin is impacted (cue binging on snacks, weight gain in the stomach)…and you are left with more frustration that when you started.

There is only one way to fix this…

Turn the Alarm “Off” for Results

You can get your body out of the Famine Response by showing it that you are giving it enough not just for function, but for optimal health.

Only then will it feel “safe” to resume non-essential functions like fat loss and lean mass development.

This means your energy distribution and breakdown have to be enough to meet system function demands. Too many women get stuck up on the idea of “healthy” vs. “effective for human performance”.

And there is a difference.

🥗 You could be eating “healthy” foods but still chronically under-eating or have the wrong energy distribution for system function. 

😖 You could be eating 1800 calories but the energy distribution is way off and leading to a stress response across your cycle phases. 

🚨 You could be following a cycle-synced regimen, but your energy breakdown is not near what it needs to be to turn that alarm off.

And this is where most women get stuck because it seems you are “doing all the right things” but in reality, your body is still struggling.

For optimal function, you need to be eating close to your optimal basal metabolic rate (OBM) which factors in what your body needs at rest as well as the energy expended during your daily activity. These levels adapt across your cycle phases, with at least a 10% increase in metabolic function in your Luteal and Menstrual Phases.

Another factor is your macronutrient breakdown. How you consume protein, fats, and barbs across your cycle influences your body’s ability to effectively use energy sources. The percentage necessary for optimal function shifts across your cycle but a baseline would be:

🥩 Protein: 20-35%

🥖 Carbs: 45-60%

🥑 Fat: 20-35%

However, if you jump right into this in this stressed state, your body will likely take all of this and store it as fat. This is why it is better to move through a progressive cycle-synced reverse diet to improve metabolic efficiency. To move through this process successfully, it can take between 3-6 months. This is something that we help calculate and map out for you in our Hormone Balance Coaching Program.

But the good news is, when you do this right you get to eat more food, you lose weight, you build confidence, and you get to actually ENJOY all the foods without restriction.

Talk about a win-win. 🎉

Ready to drop inches and ditch symptoms this summer?

Are you ready to feel confident this summer 🔥, shed inches 📏, have energy ⚡, and not let symptoms hold you back 👊 – all without sacrificing your favorite things? ❤️💚💛

If YES then kickstart your journey with a FREE discovery call 📞 to discuss your goals and get tailored strategies to focus on.

Or if you are ready to start your hormone balance journey, enroll in one of my Hormone Balance Coaching Programs for tailored support.

Tasha is an Integrative Clinical Nutritionist, B.S., CPT, Pilates Instructor, and Founder of Happy Hormone Health. She has coached 2000 women in reclaiming their energy, living symptom-free and transforming their health through hormone balance nutrition. Start your hormone balance journey with customized hormone balance coaching. 

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