Many of us have had weight problems at some point in our lives. It is hard to know where to turn when we want to make a lifestyle change, like losing weight. Food is emotional, memory evoking, comforting, and many other things to many people. It can be very hard to give up or modify beloved foods.
Often times people will turn to the internet when beginning a weight loss journey. They can covertly search for whatever they want to find, and none of their friends or family will be the wiser. This shouldn’t be an issue. However, many online presences see an opportunity to capitalize on people’s vulnerability. They have started to give advice on weight loss that is either: dangerous, misinformed, or….accurate and helpful. But it is hard to know which is which.
As far as WEIGHT LOSS goes there is an undeniable truth: if you maintain a caloric deficit, you will lose weight, if you maintain a caloric surplus, you will gain weight. Translated: if you eat fewer calories than you expend during the day for all of your movement and general body processes, your body will tap into calorie-filled structures to provide energy and you will begin to lose weight. And Vice Versa.
*CHALLENGE: if anyone denies this, or thinks that they have followed a diet (there must be evidence in the literature and/or the author’s book that people will lose weight) where this is not the case, please send me that diet and I will point out how this diet creates a caloric deficit. If I am wrong I will post a video of myself eating a smol pillow.
I caps lock “weight loss” because this does not mean “fat loss”. When you are in a caloric deficit, you will lose a percentage of fat, muscle, and bone. Every time.
The reason why “slow weight loss” is often touted by health professionals is because when you lose weight more slowly, you tend to lose a larger percentage of the unwanted fat rather than the necessary muscle and bone.
Weight loss is also not synonymous with “health”. If you are 5 or 10 pounds above your ideal body weight, you may still be very healthy. Your heart health, blood work, etc may be excellent even if you have a little extra weight packed on you. You may have good mental and emotional health too, with the foods you eat keeping you in a slightly caloric surplus make you happy. IF YOU ARE HEALTHY AND HAPPY, DON’T LISTEN TO THE HATERS.
However, if you want to make a change for weight loss:
- Figure out why exactly you want to lose weight and set goals. (A goal of being able to play with grandkids, getting off of some medications, improving your mood are great goals whereas a goal of looking good in a bathing suit is less effective. Look for goal discussion in later posts.)
- See your doctor and let them know that you are going to start a new eating plan, they may need to adjust your medications as your blood pressure, etc can change with a changing diet. He/She can also help guide you to figure out what your daily calorie needs are and your ideal body weight.
- Keep a food diary (electronic or written) by writing down what you eat for a week.
- Find areas in your food diary where you can make substitutions for a lower calorie food. For example, sub out Oreos for fruit *NOTE: lower calorie is not synonymous with healthy. A healthier, and lower calorie option will often be fruits, veggies and whole grains* (Clear any new diet plan with your doctor)
- There are 3500 calories in a pound of fat, so substituting in a way to cause a 500 calorie deficit per day will lead to a pound of weight (mostly fat) loss per week.
Why is this advice not in any diet books? Two reasons: 1) if you follow this plan, it will work and you won’t have to buy more diet books and 2) It is probably the least interesting thing ever written. I almost fell asleep writing it.
Again, This is about weight loss, not health. Weight control is certainly a component of health but there are also many others. Never sacrifice your health for weight loss.
NOTE: This is all general knowledge and does not constitute medical advice. Always see your doctor before beginning any new diet plan.