Summer is just around the corner, so I’m going to do a three-part series on weight loss including some video tutorials since this is always a hot topic this time of year. In Part 1, I will cover the basic principle. In Part 2, I will get into some of my fundamentals. In Part 3, I will share some advanced tactics. Enjoy!
“Don’t let anyone – including me – sell you that their system is more important than nutrition basics.” –Nate Miyaki
Lately, there has been information overload regarding weight loss and nutrition.
Experts will swear by the diets they promote. Low carb, low fat, vegan, raw food, Atkins, Paleo, the list goes on. The truth is it’s possible to lose weight on all of these diets. It’s also possible to gain weight on all of them. At the end of the day, the name of your diet will never override the underlying basic principle of weight loss. This basic principle is calories in vs. calories out. If you ignore this, nothing else matters. Your diet and exercise program become completely irrelevant when it comes to weight loss if you can’t get this one simple thing right. In order to lose weight, you must generate a calorie deficit over time. The end. This is exactly why an unstructured eating plan that produces a calorie deficit can be more effective than some guru’s diet with a fancy name. If it’s sustainable, then it will work.
Generate a calorie deficit over time.
If you grasp this concept, design your eating plan around it, and execute, then you will lose weight. Your body has no choice. It’s all about energy. Food is energy. Excess food becomes stored body fat which is also energy. You expend energy by living and breathing. You also expend energy by moving your muscles. You expend a little energy fidgeting in your chair. You expend more energy walking around. You expend even more energy doing high intensity exercise. When the energy you consume in food can’t meet the demands of your energy expenditure, you don’t just shut down. (Our bodies are designed better than that). You tap into stored body fat to get the remaining energy necessary to complete the task. The more you do this, the more fat you lose and therefore the more weight you lose.
If you are not generating a calorie deficit, then you are either maintaining or gaining weight.
Obviously, the latter is not what most of us want so let’s discuss how to reverse this. The key is to have an idea of how many calories you’re eating and burning so that you can figure out the best way to adjust your numbers. These days, there are plenty of tools available to help you track your calories in and calories out, even free ones such as MyFitnessPal, so there is really no excuse. If your current lifestyle is not producing a calorie deficit, then there are a few ways to fix that. 1) You can eat less. 2) You can move more. 3) You can do a combination of both. 4) You can eat more, but move even more to offset it and then some. 5) You can move less, but eat even less to offset it and then some. So how do you go about making positive changes?
There are a million ways to adjust your numbers.
They will all help you lose weight, so in this regard there is no right or wrong way to do this. There are healthier and unhealthier ways, though. For example, I would never recommend option 5 above to anyone because if you took this route, your metabolism would downshift and you’d probably lose a ton of strength while weakening your immune system and overall health. I wouldn’t recommend option 4 to someone who is severely overweight. Elite athletes can eat 10,000 calories a day and not gain weight because their training regimen supports it and it took them years to build up to that point. It’s probably not a good idea for someone who has been sedentary their whole life to go out and start doing several hours of high-intensity exercise every day. At the end of the day, you know yourself better than anyone so be smart about the route you choose.
Select the lifestyle that works best for you.
Notice I said lifestyle because you should be thinking long-term. There are ripped people who fast daily and ripped people who eat six times a day. There are ripped people who don’t do cardio and ripped people who run every day. There are ripped athletes, musicians, and office workers. The only thing all of these people have in common is that in order to get ripped, they had to sustain a calorie deficit over time. Like I said before, the best method is the method that is sustainable long-term for you. I’ve been through a lot of trial and error to figure out the best way for myself and you probably will too. And by the way, my lifestyle and methods continue to evolve. It’s all part of the process. Having said that, there are some tactics that I will recommend because they have made my personal journey as painless as possible. I’ll discuss these in my next post so stay tuned!
The options available to create a calorie deficit over time are practically endless. Watch my video (3 minutes, 26 seconds) to learn more: