The Only Way To Lose Weight

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It seems like no matter where you look you will hear conflicting opinions on the best way to lose weight. Some people will tell you the only way to do it is to restrict carbohydrates while others will tell you that you must restrict fat. Some swear by the high-fat ketogenic diet while others say the only way to lose weight is by intermittent fasting. With so much information available, it is easy to get confused. The fact of the matter, however, is that there is only one legitimate way to lose weight, and that is by consuming less calories than you burn. 

Restricting calories really is the only way to lose weight. It is a very simple formula which nutritionists refer to as “Calories in vs Calories out.” If you take in 2,500 calories in a day but only burn 2,000, then you will gain weight. If you burn 2,500 calories in a day but only take in 2,000, then you will lose weight. To gain or lose 1 pound of fat requires an excess or lack of 3,500 calories. Health experts recommend a person trying to lose weight plan to lose only about 1 pound a week. To do this, you will need to consume 500 fewer calories than you burn every day for the 7 days in the week. This is generally more sustainable and healthier than “crash diets”. 

The amount of calories you burn per day depends on a few factors, including your weight, height, and metabolic rate. According to WebMD, a person of my weight, height, and activity level would hypothetically burn about 2,300 calories per day. Therefore, if I were to lose 1 pound per week, I would need to consume 1,800 calories per day. 

A big misconception is that the most important thing when trying to lose weight is exercising. This is flat out not true. According to Vox, movement and physical activity account for only about 10 percent of all daily calories burned. The other 90 percent of calories are burned from digesting food, your heart continuing to beat, and simply breathing. 

So using the “Calories In vs Calories Out” formula, can you eat whatever you want and still lose weight? Technically, yes. This is exemplified in many bizarre diets like the Cookie Diet, Pop-Tart Diet, or the Pizza Diet. These are very simple eating plans which when done correctly can lead to weight loss. I would not recommend them, however, as I believe following these plans would lead to a thin but unhealthy body. 

While you technically can eat whatever you want and still lose weight, I would recommend including plenty of fruits and veggies in your diet as well as drinking plenty of water. In addition, try to include enough fiber and protein so you will feel full. Always remember that you need to live a healthy lifestyle rather than just following quick “crash diets”.

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