Cutting calories isn’t always equivalent to cutting fat, especially if you cut too drastically from the very beginning. While you need to expend more calories than you consume in order to lose weight, if you go too far, dieting can work against you. You may begin to lose muscle, and your metabolism may eventually adapt to your new low levels of caloric intake.
“Not eating enough can cause the body to store or hold on to more fat,” DeLeon explains. “Plus, the fatigue and bad mood associated with crash dieting will undoubtedly make it much harder to work out and stay positive about your goals and progress.”
The take-home message here is that, when you do alter your caloric intake, do it incrementally and progressively. If you’ve hit a plateau and want to adjust your diet, start by trimming 100-150 calories a day from your calorie total, not 500. And give yourself at least 1-2 weeks at this new daily level for the changes to actualize.