Can’t we just create a caloric deficit of a given number and call it a day?
Or is there more to it?
Imagine for a moment…
You’re overweight and you decide to go on a weight loss journey.
You say to yourself, “I’m going to eat less and exercise more starting today!”
Your caloric deficit ends up being around 500 calories from removing certain foods or completely changing your diet to a “healthy” one.
A week passes and you’ve lost 5 pounds.
“WOW”, you say.
“This is awesome”
You continue on.
You lower your calories even more.
But let’s back up real quick.
Let’s say to maintain your weight, you have to eat 2,000 calories a day.
In the beginning of your weight loss journey, you knocked off 500 calories per day from removing, or completely revamping your diet.
That brings you down to 1,500 calories. Not bad, and I would say is still within a healthy range.
If you remember from above, you decided to start exercising at the same time.
Let’s say you burn another 300-500 calories, bringing your total calories down to 1,000 – 1,200 a day.
You’re seeing progress, you’re excited, and you want to get even more serious and start dropping the calories even more.
200-300 calories, some days even 500 calories more, bringing your total daily calories to around 500-800.
That’s a very low calorie diet, which I believe shouldn’t be used any longer than a couple of weeks, if that, to simply jump start a weight loss program.
You’ll definitely lose a lot of weight, but what usually ends up happening is that your body/metabolism will adjust itself to only needing that much calories.
Your metabolism suffers.
You end up burning not only fat but much needed muscle tissue.
So fat and muscle shrinks while the number on the scale continues to go down.
You look at yourself in the mirror, see a slimming figure, but also wonder why you still have that fat around the hips, thighs and stomach area.
You ended up losing fat and muscle, probably lots of it, so even though you slimmed down, you still have quite a bit of fat leftover.
Much of the weight was muscle loss.
Calories In Calories Out – Other Variables
There’s other variables to losing weight than just calories in calories out.
– Types of foods you’re eating
– Exercise program
– Resistance training
Types of foods you’re eating
If you’re eating absolutely anything and everything you want, and you’re keeping track of the calories to make sure you’re in a caloric deficit, sure you’ll lose weight, but at what expense?
Are you making sure that you’re getting in calories from foods that will fill your body up with much needed nutrients?
Or are you eating gummy bears, pizza, hamburgers, fast foods all the time?
Again, we can say that as long as you’re in a caloric deficit, yes, you’ll lose weight, but are you getting the nutrients to properly nourish your body for long term health?
Of course eating gummy bears won’t keep you full like a small bowl of oatmeal would.
We have to look at what will keep us full for longer, while also giving our bodies the fuel, energy, and nourishment that it needs.
We need to look at which foods helps our bodies run in tip top shape while we’re on this weight loss journey. Which do you think would benefit our body more, a big mac meal or some pasta with chicken breast?
You’re absolutely right, the pasta with chicken breast would.
Just because you’re going healthy doesn’t mean you have to eat stale and boring foods.
That’s not to say you should never eat a big mac ever again…
I still enjoy a nice big mac here and there.
If you’re doing too much cardiovascular exercise, you could end up losing a lot of muscle. Couple that with a very low calorie diet and you could be asking for trouble.
That’s a quick way to beat up your body and make it work hard at keeping fat on your body.
I believe that you absolutely should, must, incorporate some kind of resistance training (weight lifting) into your weight loss journey to lose fat maintain muscle.
Without it, you’re sure to lose fat as well as muscle.
When you lose muscle, your metabolic rate decreases. What this basically means is that, the breakdown of muscle tissue will decrease the amount of calories your body burns when it’s simply resting. This is known as your BMR – Basal Metabolic Rate.
The more muscle tissue you have, the higher your BMR, the more energy is needed to keep the muscle.
When you lose muscle tissue, you’re losing the needed energy associated with it, so what ends up happening is that you need less calories on a day to day basis.
This means that if you’re maintaining your weight at 2,000 calories, that 2,000 calories could be a surplus and instead of maintaining, you end up gaining weight.
It’ll take you less calories to gain weight. This is a huge reason why some people who go on very low calorie diets for an extended period of time, somehow, stop losing weight, and end up gaining weight instead.
Calories In Calories Out – It Works
Calories in calories out works, but always keep in mind that going too low in calories for too long is not the healthiest way to lose weight.
Calories In Calories Out – The Deficit
No matter how we cut it, we do need a caloric deficit in order to lose weight.
As we’ve learned in this article, the best ways to accomplish this is through a combination of working on your diet, a bit of cardio, and resistance training to maintain muscle tissue.
I believe all 3 of those combined will yield you amazing results.
So it’s not just about calories in calories out, we have to look at all variables in order to lose weight the best way possible.