Calories! A calorie is a calorie is a calorie!!! I cannot stress this concept of basic nutrition enough.
People don’t gain weight because of excess fat consumption or excess protein consumption or excess carbohydrate consumption.
Weight is gained or lost because of the concept of calories in versus calories out. To demonstrate this concept to his students, a teacher recently went on a twinkie diet where he consumed nothing but twinkies for a period of time and lost a significant amount of weight.
In no means should anyone try this diet because it will inevitably cause serious health problems down the line if it is sustained, but this shows very well that anyone can lose weight by consuming any kind of food as long as the calories expended are greater than the calorie amount taken in.
Although the actual act of losing weight is not easy, the nutrition concepts behind it are very simple.
A majority of people have so many thoughts and feelings attached to hearing about carbs and proteins and fats but do not know the actual effect of macronutrients.
There are so many different diets out there promoting different “breakthroughs” in weight loss claiming they have the secret on how to lose weight fast that many people believe that fats and carbohydrates are bad and proteins are only needed for bodybuilders.
This could not be farther from the truth. Calorie counts are calculated from the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in a food.
The only reason that a fat calorie contributes to more weight gain than proteins and carbohydrates is that fat is more calorie-dense than carbohydrates and proteins.
Let me explain what I mean by this. Every gram of carbohydrates and protein in food has only 4 calories per gram while every fat gram has 9 calories per gram.
Let me provide an example so that it is clearer.
Let’s just say that there is an imaginary food that has 8 grams of carbohydrates (8 grams x 4 cal/gram = 32 calories), 4 grams of protein (4 grams x 4 cal/gram = 16 calories), and 5 grams of fat (5 grams x 9 cal/gram = 45 calories). This food has a total of 93 calories.
As you can see that although fat only had 5 grams, it contributed towards almost half of the calorie count.
What makes high-fat foods a bad option when it comes to weight loss is that they are not filling either.
Therefore, you could be eating a lot more calories and still not be satisfied. With that being said, fat, carbohydrates, and proteins are all essential to a healthy diet and should all be consumed even if you want to lose weight!!
Do not eliminate any of them from your diet, even if your goal is to lose weight!! A healthy diet consists of 45-65% of your caloric intake from carbs, 10-35% from protein, and 20-35% from fat.
So you are probably wondering, “How do I lose weight?”
Although it is not simple to carry out this basic nutrition concept and it takes a lot of hard work to shed off the pounds, the concept of how to lose that stubborn fat is very simple: consume fewer calories than you are expending.
In order to lose one pound of fat, there needs to be a 3500 caloric deficit. The amount of calories needed to lose weight varies from person to person.
In terms of food consumption, the number of calories needed to lose pounds of weight for one individual can be completely different than the number of calories needed to lose weight for another individual.
Let me explain.
There are many factors that play a role in weight control, such as your BMR which stands for basal metabolic rate. What this means is that everyone burns calories without doing any work just to sustain life.
That means that while you sit and do absolutely nothing at all, you are burning calories! BMR’s are calculated based on height, weight, and age.
For me personally, my BMR is 2100 calories. This means that I burn 2100 calories not doing anything at all. There are numerous BMR calculators online where you can find your specific BMR.
Since I burn 2100 calories, the number of calories needed to lose weight (from diet) would be less than 2100 calories. If I wanted to gain weight, the number of calories needed in my diet would be more than 2100 calories.
But wait, what about exercise? I do not really even like to call it exercise in regards to losing and gaining weight because anything that takes some form of energy will burn calories even if we do not consider it exercise.
For example, walking to and from your car burns calories, walking up the stairs burns calories, sitting down and standing up burns calories, etc.
Here is an example of how everything (caloric intake, BMR, and calories burned) put together works. Let us just say that I jog 5 miles daily and burn 600 calories during the jog.
Now if I consume only 2100 calories daily, I will have a -600 calorie deficit (2100 calories from my BMR + 600 calories from exercise = 2700 calories – 2100 calories consumed = 600 calorie deficit) which means that I will have a -4200 calorie balance a week which is over a pound (-600 x 7 = -4200 calories).
Exercise and BMR are the two main factors that affect the number of calories needed to lose weight.
Find out what your BMR is and the number of calories you burn via physical activity and calculate how many calories needed for you to gain or lose weight, depending on your goal.
There are many factors if your goal is to lose weight, but a realistic amount of weight to be lost is 1-3 pounds per week.
There are many diets out there that say that found the answer to how to lose weight fast and have all these marketing tactics on how to lose weight fast but what they really mean is that they found another way to help you with a caloric deficit.
Figure out what your goal is and get the negative or positive caloric balance that will help you achieve your goals regarding your fitness and diet.
For more in-depth information about fat check out our article “FAT- IS IT REALLY HEALTHY?”
We will be going into detail specifically about carbohydrates and proteins in future articles, as well as to what to look for when reading a nutrition label.
And if you loved this article, don’t forget to check out our popular article on ways to improve your gut health.