This is not to say that exercise isn’t good for you; it is, in fact, great for you. It creates an astonishing array of health benefits. However, exercise isn’t the key to weight loss. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that exercise isn’t the key to health and longevity, increased mood, decreased cancer risk, improved immunity, strengthens and tones, enhances flexibility, controls weight, improves bone density and improves your quality of life. I’m just saying that it isn’t the key to weight loss. Exercise helps keep lost pounds off, but exercise alone can’t do the initial job of losing it.
If you want to lose weight calories are king. Eating less of them that is. However, you can’t go overboard. Hardcore calorie restriction might lead to weight loss, but it’s just not sustainable. When the body goes into starvation mode, it starts to fight back, leading to food cravings and a way slower metabolism. So even if you manage to deprive yourself for a while, the body finds a way to adjust.
All calories are not equal
It is best to find a balance and eat healthily. A calorie is not just a calorie. Calories made of refined sugars and carbs will throw the body’s hormones and metabolism out of balance. A calorie of pizza and french fries is a completely different animal than a calorie of broccoli or almonds. Not all calorie sources have the same effects on health and weight. For example, protein can increase metabolism, reduce appetite and improve the function of weight-regulating hormones. Eating the right foods (whole foods and healthy fats) can help lower insulin in the body.This will reprogram the fat cells that were previously in calorie-storage mode. In general, foods with lower calories per weight—such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains—have a higher concentration of nutrients per calorie. Filling our bodies with nutrient dense foods without fillers allows you calorie wiggle room and fills your belly up so you are no longer hungry.
I am sorry to say…there is NO magic pill. Losing weight can take a long time. The process is generally not completely linear, as weight tends to fluctuate up and down by a few pounds.
However, there are a plethora of ways to lose weight. You can go on a reduced calorie meal plan
- You can go on a reduced calorie meal plan
- You can use an app to track your calories every day help you stay on goal
- You can eat low carb
- You can eat LCHF: low carb high fat
- You can eat a ratio of protein, fat, and carbs
- You can be on a fasting schedule with intermittent fasting
- You can lower calories and workout to create a calorie deficit balance
Amid all of those options is a myriad of versions of each. Each one purported by different health gurus, for ex: Whole 30, Paleo, Keto, Atkins, Zone, Dash, Eat this not that, Flat Belly, South Beach, Dukan, Weight Watchers, Raw Food, Zero Sugar, etc…
In the end, the best diet is the one that is most sustainable for you. It should fit into your lifestyle.
Facts about weight loss
- 1 lb is equal to 3500 calories. In order to lose a 1 lb a week, you have to deduct 500 a day from the calories you need to eat to lose weight. 7 days x 500 calories=3500 calories/1 lb of fat. You can either eat less or burn more; preferably a combination of both for maximum health benefits.
- You cannot spot reduce with exercise
- When you lose weight it will come off your body according to your genetics.
- An all or nothing strategy will not be sustainable in the long run.
- Balance is the key
You can use a calorie calculator to figure out how many calories you should eat in a day to lose weight each week according to your body. How many calories to eat per day to lose weight calculator.
The internet is rife with meal plans, usually between 1200-1500 for a woman and up to 2000 for a man, that you can get for free. Ready-made meal plans take the guesswork out of what you can eat within your calorie allowance.
Alternatively, you can use an app to track the calories of the foods you eat regularly. I use the my fitness pal app to track my calories so I can balance how many calories I am eating in combination with calories burned from exercise that you can input into the app as well. Eventually, if you generally eat the same foods on a weekly basis you get better at estimating your calories and don’t have to feel beholden to constantly tracking your food daily. I like it because it keeps me accountable and the statistics keep me motivated.
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It is absolutely essential. We need to move our bodies, but it can be beneficial in so many forms. You can workout by running or walking in your neighborhood, park or basement on a treadmill. The best exercise is the one you like to do. You may love the gym or take an instructor-led class, go for a bike ride, take a barre class, hike, do yoga, Pilates, swim or whatever type of movement you love the most to reap the health benefits.
So, I would say that the key to weight loss and keeping it off is to balance your calories with your energy expenditure to create a balanced body. Patience is the key. Watch your calories and go for a walk, soon enough your pants will feel looser.
Good luck! I know you can do it!
Do you have a great weight loss tip to share? We would love to hear it! Please comment and share!