Losing weight is simple, once you accept how hard it is.
Seems counterintuitive doesn’t it? But it’s true, losing weight is simple – simply consume less calories than your body burns through physiological functions or additional activity.
Simple, right? Then why do so many people struggle with it?
The answer is simple does not equal easy. And it becomes harder when we start to think about how many different ways our bodies “burn” calories throughout the day. Some of these ways include:
– Physical activity and exercise
– Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T.)
– Genetic programming
– Body composition
– Our gastrointestinal microbiome & how we digest the food we eat
– The type of foods we eat
Not to mention it’s next to impossible to accurately measure how many calories we’re actually eating since food labels and calorie counts can be off by up to 20%. Then add on the fact that the human metabolism is one of the most complex things in the universe and we’re nowhere close to understanding everything about it.
Unless we are sitting inside a lab, it’s impossible to accurately measure how many calories we’re burning or consuming on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean that calories don’t matter, it simply means we don’t know all of the inputs and outputs, so turning our food into complicated “calorie math” probably isn’t going to do us much good. It could also be one more thing to get frustrated with leading us to give up.
Energy balance is still the key to sustainable weight loss.
Consume less energy (i.e. food) than you burn = weight loss.
Consume more energy than you burn = weight gain.
Since calorie math isn’t overly useful, it’s important to find a sustainable way to track how much you’re eating and your progress over time. One such method I use with clients is to use their hand for portion sizes of various foods.
If you find you’re gaining weight, make adjustments to your portion sizes and keep tracking.
If you find your losing weight, give yourself a high five and continue doing what you’re doing.
Yes, there a million different variables and opinions on “what’s the best diet”, or strategies that might make it easier to eat less or increase your physiological output, but whether we gain weight or lose weight still comes down to simple energy balance – calories in vs. calories out.
Remember, losing weight is simple, once you accept how hard it is.
Keep things simple, put in the work and reap the rewards.