This is the your fat cell: @ and this is your cell that's left after you starve yourself thin: 0. They don’t disappear overnight.
Think of fat cells as containers. When you put on weight, you buy more containers. When you lose weight, you can pour content out of containers but you can’t get rid of those empty container boxes. They can shrink or expand, but never turn into muscles!
According to research conducted at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2008, the total number of fat cells in your body is determined in adolescence and generally stabilises in adulthood. Obese people have more fat cells than others.
This is why liposuction can have potential dangers. When your body has 100 containers and you lipo away 80, your body might end up storing more fats when it rebounds and make you gain weight even faster.
Now, we all know that calories in versus calories out will determine how thin or fat we become. So, most people would say, “I need to eat less to lose more weight.”
They end up starving themselves without exercise becoming ‘skinny-fat’, or not make any effective changes at all. So why do some people try to starve themselves, yet scale towards the heavier side?
Because of a slower metabolism
When you starve yourself, your body will adapt to a slower metabolism in order to burn fewer calories. It’s unhealthy to maintain a super low body fat percentage all year round.
Many women with low body fat are suffering from anorexia and bulimia. Girls might also risk losing their periods.
(Left) Steph on bulk mode (Right) Steph, after cutting
Of course, that doesn’t mean you should eat everything in sight. You should plan your macro nutrition according to your goals to decide how much carbs, proteins or fats to consume. Opt for food that is high in fibre and nutrients.
Adjust your nutrition intake
If you eat a lot but wish to lose weight, you could choose less dense food (e.g. 200g of kangkong that’s approx. 50 calories) over denser food (e.g. 200g of rice that’s approx. 260 calories). Vice versa, if you want to gain weight but don’t have appetite, eat denser food.
Generally, guys should eat a protein amount of 0.8-1.2g per lbs of bodyweight. For girls, you should consume around 0.7-1g per lbs of bodyweight if you workout. If you don’t workout, you can eat less protein.
Rice and other form of healthy carbs (pasta, potato, couscous, quinoa), if eaten in moderation, are good sources to fuel your body for exercises.
The catabolism of carbs will produce ATP which gives intracellular energy for workout. It will also refuel your body with glycogen after a tough workout.
Just because you eat meat/protein doesn’t mean you’ll gain muscles
Protein doesn’t build muscle; it repairs muscles. To build muscles, you visit the gym to lift weights, which will cause micro tears in your muscles in order to grow (body adaptation).
Ultimately, it all depends on your choice of calories in and calories out. That’s why it doesn’t matter even if you eat rice before bedtime.
Pic and tips contributed by Steph (my partner), a personal trainer.