Enter the word diet into Google and you will get about 1,760,000,000 results, the results are literally overwhelming. There are so many diets to choose from including Keto, Carnivore, Pescatarian, Atkins, Bulletproof, Intermittent Fasting and not forgetting The Cabbage Soup diet!
The diet industry is big business, the global weight management market was valued at $212.1 billion in 2018. No wonder there’s so many to choose from!
Not only are there a myriad of choices but also a mass of information, guidance and advice is out there. Often this information can be contradictory dependent upon which source you choose, is losing weight really this complicated? In short, no. Dieticians, Personal Trainers and other ‘experts’ can often make losing weight sound hugely complicated and difficult, but it really isn’t. Yes, you can start to focus on your macro nutrients, micronutrients, what time of day you eat, etc. But basically losing weight involves adhering to one basic equation.
## Energy in vs. Energy out
Energy in, is the calories that you consume through food and drink. Energy out is the calories used for daily energy requirements, not only for exercise but the calories we use whilst the body is at rest.
If you are looking to lose weight you want to expend more calories than you take in, to put on weight take in more calories than you expend. Whilst people will argue that this is oversimplifying things it will provide a good basis for those looking to lose weight.
I always advise people to track the calories they consume so that your calculations are based on facts and not guesswork. I have found that the vast majority of people underestimate how much they really eat in a day, it’s only when I have asked people to keep a food diary or use an app that they realise they have been underestimating, often by several hundred calories. This is the main reason why they have not been losing weight. There are many apps that have been designed to help you do this, I personally use MyFitnessPal which is very easy to use and has a massive database of foods, it’s as simple as scanning barcodes with your phone. Then on the other side of the equation you should track the number of calories you burn. There are a number of fitness trackers available that can do this, I personally use Garmin devices, but there are devices to fit every budget.
Dieting is not about starving yourself and surviving on as few calories as possible. This is quite likely to have exactly the opposite effect to the one you are hoping for as your body will literally enter starvation mode and try and hang onto its fat stores as it is trying to keep you from starving. Not only will it slow down or stop your weight loss, it can make you feel hungrier, lazier and increase those food cravings. All this can lead to people giving up on their diet altogether as its too hard and they feel too awful.
Slow and steady is the way forward when it comes to weight loss. Research suggests aiming for one to two pounds of weight loss per week. To achieve this you need to burn 500 – 1,000 calories less than you consume each day. This can be done by consuming less, exercising more or a mixture of the two. This is believed to be a manageable amount for most people and should result in the weight staying off in the long term.
So at its most basic, to lose weight, do more and eat less!
Look out for more articles where we will explore weight loss in more detail including how to calculate your daily calorie needs, calculating your macros and ideas for healthy eating. Not to mention tips and advice from people who have achieved significant weight loss themselves.