Less food and more exercise seems to be the easiest way to slim down effectively. However, it is easy to be trapped in as weight reduction and keeping fit requires something more. How to do it in a sensible way?


It could be assumed that reduction of food consumption and increased physical activity is a perfect way of excessive kilograms loss. Does it work? Yes and no. It may happen that after weeks of following a restrictive diet and being hungry, thoughtless reduction and elimination of many nutritious foods, straining workouts at the gym and enormous water intake we step on a scale with the hope of seeing less kilograms there but the weight is the same or it has even increased.

What has gone wrong? A very important aspect should be taken into consideration: there will be no strength to sustain a prolonged effort if the body is not supported in any way. For the proper functioning it needs harmony, diversity and a correct balance between the energy that it is provided with and released from. Energy intake in a form of calories is not the only element of a correctly balanced diet. Macro- and micro-ingredients intake is important as well. And it is possible exclusively with a sensible nutrition – when our everyday diet is adjusted to the requirements of our body and balanced with regards to all indispensable ingredients.

Why does the weight not go down even though we reduced the intake of calories (we thought were to many) and we increased the number of burned ones. The answer is simple. The body was induced, against its will and the natural process, in the state of emergency. Not only did we force it to use more energy but we also took away its natural source of energy – namely the food.

What are the results of it? Our body starts to defend itself from strenuous activities and metabolism when we consume too little energy (low calorie diet) and combine it with increased physical activity and long term energy deficit. Instead of burning the fat tissue it prefers to use the energy from the muscle mass (destroying it quickly).

The body is trying to help itself in the state of crisis in this way.

The similar process takes places when we consume the wrong amounts and proportions of macro-ingredients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates). It triggers the body protection mechanisms which operate in a similar way. When we start to consume too much protein skipping carbohydrates, which are indispensable for physically active people, the process of muscles burning will become repeatable. Additional method of the body defending itself from a severe form of malnutrition would be  storing ‘’food’’, which normally would have been used for supporting basic life functions, in a form of extra fat tissue (even if you consume less).

It is not possible to have a healthy weight loss plan with conditions like these. It is however certain that day by day, despite of many hours of exercise and sacrifice, the body composition ratio  (the main proportion between muscle mass and fat tissue) will go worse (spare fat tissue increases and the amount of valuable muscle mass decreases).

When the decision to reduce the intake of food and increased physical activity may be beneficial? Only when it is fully adjusted to the needs of your body, controlled in a professional way, well-grounded and above all it will not contribute to the risk of severe consequences of malnutrition onset.

Agnieszka Witucka, a nutritionist

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