Move More, Eat Less.
As obvious as it sounds, this really is the only way any diet will work. From the Atkins Diet to the South Beach Diet, Diets will only work if the dieter consumes less calories than they expend, with one exception.
While it is true that weight loss can only occur when we expend more calories than what we ingest, if we eat too little and make the gap between energy intake (food) and energy output (exercise) too large, things can go terribly wrong. For instance, put Lance Armstrong on a daily calorie intake of 2000, when on an average training day he would burn more than 13000 calories and before long, he would be sick as a dog and in a state of anorexia.
One of the most common complaints I would hear from my over 100kg clients, was that they would eat very little and exercise regularly but still gain weight. If the gap between energy out vs energy in is more than around 1000 calories a day, the result can often mean that the body goes into a state of starvation and holds on to as much fat weight as possible. This is why very low calorie diets do not work and are never sustainable.
Why would your body want to let go of body fat stores when instinctively your brain is sending messages to the body that there is a severe lack of food and therefore must hold onto as much fat as possible to stay alive for as long as possible? When the mind perceives a lack of food, it automatically tells the body the best way to survive and fires into action. In instances of continued famine, (eating 1000 less calories than the energy we expend in a given day) the body reacts by storing fat. Fat, having the highest energy content at 9 calories per gram, is stored as adipose (fat) tissue on the body and supplies the body with over double the useable energy than that of carbohydrates and proteins. Proteins and carbohydrates offer only 4 calories per gram. Remember, we are generically wired for survival.
Food energy is measured in calories. Every food has a different calorific value. A gram of lettuce has about 0.16 calories, whereas a gram of avocado has around 8 times as much with 1.26 calories. The scientific measurement of a calorie is the energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 °C. Slightly technical, but pretty much meaning that the higher the calorie value of a particular food, the longer it takes your body to burn it off, making it a more sustainable source of fuel. Or on the positive side, the more energy available, the more energy we have available to perform exercise or daily tasks.
When we consume less calories than we expend over a sustained period of time, we experience weight loss. The energy required to burn one kilo of fat, is 7000 calories. Therefore, if you consume 500 less calories than what you expend every day for seven days, you will have created a deficit of 3500 calories. So, in theory, you should have burned ½ kilo of fat in one week. This is the case, unless the dieter gets too carried away and the gap between input and output becomes more than 1000 calories.
Do not make the mistake of thinking less is more. Eat less and move more, but you need to figure out how many calories you are eating and how many calories you are burning so you can maintain a healthy balance.A healthy deficit is around 500 calories a day. For 100kg plus people that are exercising, up to 1000 is possible but no higher.
I will cover more on how to figure out your energy output and input in the following posts.
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