In the United States, approximately 40% of adults over the age of 20 are obese. Out of these, about 8% are considered morbidly obese. The reason is simple.
The calorie dense foods that make up the average American’s diet makes it very easy to consume positive net calories.
Obesity can wreak havoc on your quality of life and predispose you to many conditions such as coronary artery disease and diabetes. Being obese can even limit the types of jobs that you can do.
But there is a solution and luckily the solution is the same as the cause of the problem in the first place…with a slight modification. Both weight gain and weight loss all depends on the number of calories you consume.
Before we dive into the solution to obesity we need to find out why and how weight gain occurs in the first place.
What Are Calories?
Calories are simply the units of energy that our body uses for fuel.
Food is our fuel source. It’s good to know that the energy we get from our food was at one point absorbed from the Sun and passed down the food chain.
Calories are what our body uses to live and function. Even if you were to sit still, the body is still using calories to stay alive. You just use more calories when moving about or exercising.
Ok so what are net calories?
Net calories is the difference in the number of calories taken in through food subtracted by the number of calories the body has used. This figure is usually reported daily but the effects are seen over the long run.
For example: Suppose you were to eat 2000 calories and your body used 1500 calories. Your net calories would be 2000 – 1500 = +500. If you ate 1500 calories and used 2000, your net calories would be 1500 – 2000 = -500.
How many calories do I need?
The number of calories a person needs in a day depends on many things. Gender, age, weight and activity level all factor in. It also depends on if you want to lose weight, gain it or keep it steady.
The range for most people is from 1200 calories for a small person who does little physical activity to over 3500 calories or more for a large athlete.
Simply put, metabolism can be thought of as the amount of energy your body uses to fuel itself and stay alive. Everyone’s metabolism is different. Which means 2 people who are the same size, age and gender could have different calorie needs. Your metabolism can be thought of as the body’s own furnace.
Hormones like testosterone, estrogen and thyroid hormone play a part in affecting metabolism.
How does weight gain occur?
Weight gain happens when your furnace burns less calories than it takes in. Remember the net calories? When your net calories are GREATER than 0, your body stores the extra calories as fat. Eating more calories than your body can use causes weight gain.
For example: If your body only uses 1500 calories to live and you eat 2000 calories, your net calories are +500. You have eaten 500 extra calories that your body does not need at the moment.
There are 3500 calories in 1 lb. of fat !
This means if you eat 500 calories more per day than your body can use, in 1 week (500 calories/day x 7 days = 3500 calories) you would have gained 1 pound of fat.
How does weight loss happen?
Fat is the extra fuel that your body has stored over time. If you are not giving your body enough fuel then it is forced to use the stored fuel (fat) to live. The body takes the fat and turns it into units of glucose to use as fuel. This process is called gluconeogenesis.
As the body taps into the fat to use as fuel, the fuel stores shrink and you lose weight.
Net calories are always under 0 when weight loss happens. You NEED to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight.
It’s important to know that:
1g of carbohydrates = 4 calories
1g of protein = 4 calories
1g of fat = 9 calories
Diets That Will Put You in a Net Calorie Deficit
The following diets WILL help you in achieving your weight loss goals. They will do this by giving you an eating strategy that will make it easier to put you in a calorie deficit. This will force your body to use the stored fat to sustain itself.
Please make sure you pick ONE strategy that you think will work best. Try it out for a minimum of 8 weeks before trying another strategy. Consistency is key!!! I jumped from diet to diet when I was first trying to lose weight. All of these will work as long as you are in a calorie deficit.
What about supplements? I will be suggesting a few supplements that will speed up fat loss. They will NOT cause fat loss on their own. The supplements are only meant to make the diets more effective. Achieving negative net calories will become easier.
On the paleo diet, you are only allowed to eat food that is obtained from nature. You can’t eat anything thats processed. Chicken breasts are allowed, ready made frozen dinners are NOT.
Stick to mostly meat, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds.
The paleo diet isn’t just “a fad”, it actually gives you a framework of eating right. The style of eating in paleo makes it really easy to stay in a net calorie deficit. You don’t need to sacrifice taste, there are manypaleo cookbooks that teach you how to make easy paleo dishes that taste great.
The diet works because raw food has fewer calories than processed food. You can eat MORE raw food with fewer net calories. This way you can feel full while still losing weight!
Keto – But with a Twist
The keto diet is as popular today as it was a few years ago. Some people swear by it. Some people say it doesn’t work. Lets explore this further. But first, what exactly is keto?
You need to know that your brain uses glucose for energy. In the event there is no glucose, it can run on ketone bodies. The keto diet is a very low carbohydrate diet where your body is forced to use your fat stores to make ketone bodies so your brain can stay alive.
Your body literally turns your fat into ketones so it can feed your brain. The effect is rapid fat loss. But then why does keto not work for some people?
NET CALORIES. The keto diet requires a large portion of your diet to be fat. As seen previously, fat has 9 calories per gram. This is more than twice the amount in carbs or protein. Eating a tonne of fat makes it easier to go over your bodies calorie limit.
You cannot lose weight on keto if you are eating more net calories than you can burn off. You will be adding fat while your body is trying to burn it! So whats the solution?
Keep your fat intake high but keep track of your net calories! The best approach is to use a custom keto diet approach that is tailored to you.
WHAT IS THE KETO FLU?
When you first start the keto diet and your body is trying to adapt to using ketones you may feel fatigued and get brain fog. This is called the “keto flu” and is caused by an imbalance of electrolytes in your body.
How do you get rid of the keto flu? One way is to wait it out. You should get back to normal in about a week as your body gets used to the ketones and electrolytes go back to normal.
The second way is to take a keto supplement. This supplement will speed up the process of ketosis and will minimize the effects of the keto flu. This is not a replacement for the diet but will make the diet more effective and easier to stick to.
This is another one that has gained publicity in recent years. There are many people that report great results with this type of dieting. Intermittent fasting involves only eating during certain windows of time. This is also called “timed eating”. This is great for people who have busy work schedules and want to restrict calories during the day. Dieting in the workplace can be tricky, so some people just prefer to fast.
Typically, men will fast for 16 hours and have a 8 hour feeding window. Studies have shown that women only need to fast for 14 hours to have the same benefits. Note that the hours in which you are sleeping are included in this fasting time.
During the feeding window you can have as many meals as you’d like. However, the concept of net calories still applies! If you eat too much during the feeding window and go above your calorie limit then you will gain weight.
If your calorie limit is 1700 calories and you eat 2 meals of 1000 calories in your feeding window then you will NOT lose weight. Remember it’s about net calories. On the other hand, eating 3 meals of 500 calories will put you in a calorie deficit and you will lose weight!
THE WARRIOR DIET
This is a subset of intermittent fasting where you eat 1 meal a day. Yes, you heard that right, just ONE meal. This meal can be any time you want but you can only eat once in a 24 hour period. The good thing is that you can eat pretty much whatever you want.
As long as you keep net calories in mind that is…..
You probably shouldn’t have a meal that contains 2000 calories when your daily requirement is 1800. When done correctly, you should notice consistent weight loss that is more rapid than the other diets.
The thing that makes this diet so powerful is the effect that fasting has on the body. When we fast, a small gland at the base of the brain called the pituitary gland releases something called human growth hormone (HGH). HGH has powerful effects on the body such as repair, anti-aging effects and of course fat loss.
The greater the release of human growth hormone, the faster the rate of weight loss you can expect. Make sure you get adequate sleep to maximize growth hormone levels. You can also increase the levels of growth hormone in the body by using this supplement.
But remember, the supplement itself will NOT help you lose weight. Negative net calories will cause weight loss. The supplement will only help you lose weight faster.
The Cinderella Solution
There is probably no diet in recent history that has caused such a stir and skepticism than this Disney princess inspired diet. This is a diet that promises drastic and consistent weight loss results without cutting out carbs.
Is there any truth to this?
I’m here to tell you that there IS truth to that…but there is a catch.
The diet will work wonders if you keep our basic principle in mind. The thing is that the Cinderella Solution is not as much of a diet as it is a WAY of eating. The Cinderella Solution provides dieters with a framework that when followed correctly will result in consistent weight loss.
The Cinderella Solution essentially teaches women HOW to eat. It does this through various ways. One of the ways is called ‘food coupling’. It’s when you eat different types of food together to increase a sense of fullness and satisfaction from food. Hence, you curb cravings and eat less. More strategies can be found on the official site of the Cinderella Solution.
The diet works by optimizing hormones that will help in weight loss. These include thyroid hormone, estrogen and cortisol. The program provides ways to prevent your metabolism (remember the furnace) from slowing down. So you use more calories throughout the day.
The only downside is that the diet was specifically made for women. Men may not have the same results as women do.
Use the strategies offered in this program but remember, net calories.Your net calories need to be in the negative for weight loss to occur.
In Conclusion….Net Calories!
That pretty much sums it up. These are the strategies that I believe will work best in helping you achieve your weight loss goals. While some of them promise amazing results, those results will be gradual.
Please choose a strategy and stick with it for at least 8 weeks. Results will be slow and steady but will be very noticeable if you are consistent. But only if you keep the concept of net calories in mind.
The supplements mentioned will help you lose weight faster, but will by no means make you lose weight by themselves.
I wish you the very best in your weight loss journey, now burn that fat!
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