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The Key To Your Weight Loss Isn't The Latest Fad Diet, It's Simple Math

No matter what diet plan you follow they all have the same end goal of making you consume less calories than you did before. Science has shown the way your body loses weight is by being in a Caloric Deficit. Caloric Deficit simply means you are consuming less calories in a given period (typically a day) than you burn. When you eat less calories than you burn in a day your body uses your fat and/or muscle stores in order to get the calories it needs in to operate which causes you to lose weight. If you consume more calories than you burn your body stores those excess calories as fat which causes you to gain weight. This happens regardless of nutritional content of the food you're eating. Meaning if you eat calories exclusively from vegetables but are still in a caloric surplus (consuming more calories than you're burning) you will still gain weight! Every fad diet or nutrition plan you have followed thus far has aimed to reduce your calorie intake and ultimately leave you in a caloric deficit. They don't tell you this instead trendy diets are often marketed in a way that takes your attention away from why the diet works for some people but not others. If the trendy diet plan you followed caused you to be in a caloric deficit you would lose weight but if it did not allow you to be in a caloric deficit the diet did not work for you.


Breaking Down Caloric Deficit

Calories Consumed - Calories Burned = Caloric Deficit/Surplus. This simple formula is the key to your weight loss goal. Like you just learned above in order for your body to actually lose weight you need to be operating in a caloric deficit. This simple equation will allow you to understand if you are in a caloric deficit or not. Lets look at an example. You have calculated that you have consumed 2,000 calories in a given day (we recommend using or the myfitnesspal app to help track your food consumption). You have found that you burn about 2,500 calories in any given day. So by using our weight loss equation Calories Consumed - Calories Burned = Caloric Deficit/Surplus and plugging in the numbers we get 2,000 calories - 2,500 calories = -500 calories. This means that for that day we would be in a 500 calorie deficit. Your body would now use your fat and/or muscle stores to make up for the calories it needs that you did not give it causing you to lose weight.

How Do I Know How Many Calories I Burn In A Day?

In order to lose weight and make progress on your goals its imperative that you have an understanding of how many calories you are actually burning in a given day. There are a few factors that go into your daily calorie expenditure the primary factors are your Resting Metabolic Rate and physical activity. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is the amount of calories your body burns at rest, essentially RMR is how many calories you would burn if you simply laid in bed all day and didn't move. Roughly 70% of our daily calorie expenditure comes from our RMR!

The best way to determine your RMR would be to take a "Bod Pod" test which will measure your density and with some other metrics can give you a great idea of what your RMR is. If you don't have access to a Bod Pod the next best thing would be an electric impedance scale. You can also click HERE for an online calculation that is fairly accurate but I would recommend doing a more personalized test to get the most accurate reading possible.

Once you have determined your RMR you need to determine how many calories you are burning from physical activity. If you live a sedentary lifestyle your calories burned from physical activity might only be a few hundred a day, if you're moderately active it's probably 500-700 calories per day, if you are vigorously active it might be closer to 750+ calories in addition to the calories burned from your RMR. The best way to determine this is from an electric calorie track such as a Fitbit or Apple Watch.

Now that you have determined the calories you burn from your RMR and your calorie expenditure from physical activity you can add them up to get a really good idea of how many calories you are burning in a given day. Note that you will burn some calories from the thermic effect of food but that is very minimal and difficult to determine so you should narrow your focus on RMR and physical activity. Now that you are aware of how many calories you are burning in a day you can decide how many calories you are going to eat in a day!d

How Much Of A Caloric Deficit Should I Be In?

The answer to this question can be a little nuanced and it is always best to consult a professional in order to get a daily calorie intake goal that fits your goals, lifestyle, and current health. In general 300-500 calories of a caloric deficit daily is a good goal. One pound of fat will cost 3,5000 calories to burn. If you are in a 500 calories caloric deficit daily over the course of one week you will have lost one pound of fat which is generally a healthy and sustainable pace to lose weight. Being in more of a caloric deficit might allow you to reach your goal faster but it may be harder to sustain as you may feel hungry often. Being in less of a caloric deficit will allow you to still lose weight but it might be at too slow of a pace for you to want to continue with your "diet." If you need a professional to consult with head to and set up a FREE consultation!


What About Macros And A Balanced Diet?

In oder to live a healthy life it is important to have a healthy and balanced diet BUT when it comes to simply losing weight it always comes back to calories consumed vs. calories burned. I am not saying that you shouldn't try to have a balanced diet but if your main goal is to simply lose weight your primary focus should be to consume less calories. This is great news because you don't need to cut out foods that you love in order to lose weight you may just need to eat less of calorie dense foods in order to stay in a caloric deficit. Professor of Human Nutrition at Kansas State University Mark Haub proved this point by losing 27 pounds following something he called "The Twinkie Diet" you can read about the Twinkie diet here.

How Should You Get Started?

Now that you know the way you're going to reach your weight loss goal is by consuming less calories than you are burning it's time to get started! The first thing you should do is not change a thing in your current diet and simply track your calorie intake on or through the MyFitnessPal app, before you make any changes it's good to know where you are so you know how much change will be needed. Be sure to accurately track your calories by making sure the portions of the food you are looking to track is correct according to the nutrition facts. Do this for a few days or up to a week to get a good idea of how many calories you typically consume on a daily basis. During these few days determine how you're going to figure out your calorie expenditure whether it's through a scientific test such as a bod pod, an at home test from an electric impedance scale, or from an online website. Start to reduce your caloric intake until you are in a daily caloric deficit of 300-500 calories daily and try to maintain it. Weigh yourself no more than once a week (I typically recommend closer to once a month) to track your results and make modifications where needed to continue to hit your weight loss goal!

If you have any questions reach out to us today at we are always happy to help!