Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sumo Wrestler Vs. Soccer Player

There is a misconception out there that the only reason people gain weight is by over-eating. Not so. I gained my weight by under-eating. I would eat a small, sugar and caffeine filled breakfast, then I would work all day not stopping to eat other than grabbing a quick snack. I would get off work late in the evening and eat a big meal. I justified this big meal because I needed to eat, I hadn't eaten all day!! And I gained and gained and gained.

I was trying so hard to lose weight through exercise. I was busting my ass everyday at the gym afterwork but I couldn't lose! In fact, I kept gaining weight. I researched how many calories a day I should be consuming- about 1500, and I knew I was burning at least 500 during my workouts.

So here's a little math lesson: At 1500 cal/day I should have been creating a calorie deficit of 500 cal/day. Add 5 workouts a week= approximately 2500 cal deficit. So in total, I was creating a 6000 cal deficit every week. Now, 1 lb is 3500 cal. So I should have been losing about 1.5 lbs/ week, right?

Now what if I tell you that I wasn't even consuming my 1500? I was way under in calories everyday. I was faithfully logging my calories online everyday and I was always under. So doesn't it stand to reason that I should have losing even more weight? But, yet, I kept gaining weight, and no, it wasn't muscle either. I was getting fatter.

Then I watched a documentary on Sumo wrestlers on TV. To get to the size they need, they do not over-eat. No. Sumo wrestlers starve themselves all day until about 6pm. Then they eat. Not so different from what I was doing. This was what Oprah calls an "a ha!" moment. In that moment I realized that if I train my body like a Sumo wrestler, I would look like a Sumo wrestler. So what if I trained like an athlete? A soccer player?

I started doing some research, and I learnt that elite athletes eat 5-6 small meals per day. So maybe if I ate like them, I would look like them? Bingo! That's exactly what started to happen.

Now I know that isn't new information. It is in every magazine and diet book... eat 5-6 times a day, but why is it that I still meet clients who are under-eating the way I was? We still live under the misconception that eating makes us fat and eating less will make us thin. It is true that if you are over in calories you will gain weight, but being too far under in calories will also make you gain weight. If you ever doubt that, then think of the Sumo Wrestler vs. the Soccer player. The Sumo Wrestler starves all day. The soccer player eats small, balanced meals all day.

Which one would you rather look like?


  1. Thank you, Teri. That is a powerful message because I can completely visuallize the difference. And I think as we grow up that we are taught to lose weight we need to cut down on our food intake, obviously this is not always the case. Thanks again for being such an inspiration.

  2. Thanks Darleen! I'm glad it helps. It is important to create a healthy calorie deficit and to eat consistently throughout the table to maintain a healthy metabolism.