Last week, we began discussing the most important concepts behind long-term weight loss.
Here are a few more that I hope you find helpful.
3. Calories In – As I mentioned above, the type of diet isn’t as important as how much we eat.
The important thing for weight loss is maintaining a caloric deficit. No matter how a trendy diet is
wrapped up and presented to the public, they all boil down to inducing a caloric deficit. There
have been studies done on the different types of popular diets to determine which one is the
most effective. The studies tend to show that all of the diets are fairly equal for short-term weight
loss, but the difference between them is in the long-term results. The more drastic fad diets tend
to not be sustainable over time so many of the study participants have stopped strictly adhering
to the diet by the end. The diets that showed good short-term and long-term results were those
that people had an easier time sticking with. One example of a diet that did very well is Weight
Watchers. Weight Watchers is basically a simplified form of calorie tracking via a point system,
and there are no food groups that are completely excluded. The fact that a straightforward diet
like Weight Watchers outcompetes the newer trendy diets just goes to show us that dieting
successfully does not need to mean eating just an apple per day or excluding all the tasty foods
that we enjoy on occasion.
4. Calories Out – Our body burns calories in 3 main ways: keeping us alive and our organs
running, consuming food, and breaking it down for energy, and physical activity. Physical activity
means any type of movement, not just exercise. The number of calories burned per day just
from our body functioning is unique for everyone. The amount burned depends on different
variables, such as size, age, and gender. Besides exercise, there are many ways to increase
your daily caloric expenditure especially if you work a sedentary job. If you do work a sedentary
job, you could try to get up every hour for a quick walk around the building, push-ups by your
desk, park further away from the door, go for a walk at lunch or after work, or just stand
more often throughout the day. Burning more calories through activity does not mean you need
to make it to the gym every single day. Just adding a 30-minute walk per day will add hundreds
of calories burned over time.
I do not want to downplay the importance of exercise for losing weight and for keeping it off, but
I would be wrong not to mention that our DIET is so much more important than exercise when
trying to maintain a caloric deficit. There are many great benefits that come from exercise, but
we can all agree that not eating a cinnamon roll every morning is a lot easier to cut out 400
calories than running on the treadmill for an hour. Next week, we will talk more about exercise
and its importance.
Joshua White PA-C