Today I’m going to address the theory that your body is “comfortable” at a certain level of body fat and will do anything it can to stay there.
Real-world experience is ahead of science on this one: it’s true that your body fights back at every attempt to get very, very lean–I’m referring to rock-hard, thin-skin levels. All of a sudden, highly palatable foods that you wouldn’t normally eat become agenda, sleep becomes increasingly difficult, and a binge will send you on your way to where you started at the beginning of the diet.
Simply put, the hunter-gatherer in you wants to eat. That’s biology. However, there is an even stronger force than biology, and that’s environment. Think of it this way: even with your hunter-gatherer genes, if you were stranded on an island with no food to eat, eventually you would deplete your fat reserves. Therefore, biology does not dictate reality.
Sure, being ultra-ripped, super-lean may not be realistic year-round (even shredded bodybuilders transition quickly into offseason once the contests are over) but this is no reason to go overboard or completely relax on your diet.
In my opinion, a person can maintain a reasonable level of leanness year-round without too much hassle. Your nutrition will improve as well. You just have to get used to the fact that it might not be realistic to be onion-skinned all the time, unless you are also willing to consistently feel miserable to stay there.
Most males can maintain the point where they start to see the outline of their abs, a hint of obliques, and some deltoid separation. A slight deviation above this should be considered the cutoff point. Females will need to carry slightly more, but a flat belly with a moderate amount of stored fat around the buttocks and thighs is obtainable and realistically sustainable.
Sustainable doesn’t mean easy–consistent exercise and optimal nutrition are still a must.