There are all types of people out there. Some people know the basics of fitness, nutrition, health, and weigh/fat loss and some have no idea. It’s really simple, but as simple as it seems now, I was once one of those people who had no idea. I wish I knew: you need a caloric deficit to lose weight.
Let’s just focus on the basics: weight loss, not fat loss. We’re talking about having gained a medium to significant amount of weight, and we want to lose some weight.
Choose Your Sources Carefully
I’m sick and tired of all those mainstream articles telling us what to do to lose weight. Some of those articles are right, but they are leaving out other information which, in turn, sabotages our goals.
There are people who have no idea that the article that taught them how to achieve a flatter stomach/abs, left out a ton of other information. So in turn, they’re doing a bunch of crunches and planks for no reason other than to strengthen their core (which is a good thing, though).
A caloric deficit is the only thing that will help you lose weight. You can eat all the food that you want, but you won’t lose weight even if you exercise.
A deficit means “short of.” So when you are in a caloric deficit, you are short of the calories you are supposed to be consuming in order to maintain your current weight.
How to Calculate Caloric Intake
There are several ways you calculate your caloric deficit to lose weight:
- You can calculate your approximate caloric intake here – however, realize that this is just a guideline. I entered all of my information to the best of my abilities, and it is saying I should eat less than I am currently eating in order to maintain my weight. Always adjust the caloric intake as you move along in your fitness journey.
- Use My Fitness Pal. Its calculation for your caloric intake can also be inaccurate, so take some consideration in adjusting the numbers; however, this app is great for calculating your caloric intake for the day. Again, adjust caloric intake as needed throughout your journey.
- Simply watch your food intake. Eat healthier or start to omit certain things from your diet – adding milk instead of cream in your Starbucks, using mustard instead of mayo, snacking fruits instead of chips. If you come to a complete halt or hit a plateau in your weight loss, continue to cut more little things from your diet.
Whichever method you choose, you’re going to have to make sure you’re in a caloric deficit to lose weight – it takes time, some method more than others, but it will work so long as you keep working at it.
Eating Healthy ≠ Weight Loss
There are articles upon articles that tell us what to eat in order to lose weight. Eat more nuts, eat more veggies, eat more sweet potatoes, eat more oatmeal… you get the idea. They even claim you don’t have to count calories.
No, you don’t. You don’t have to. But if you’re not losing weight, then you probably should, or at least be more conscientious about how much of this healthy stuff you’re eating. If you’re eating a surplus of healthy food, you’re going to gain weight.
You can eat junk food only, but as long as you’re in a calorie deficit, you’ll lose weight.
Eating healthy will allow you to eat a larger volume of food, thus allowing you to feel more full. If you’ve got 1800 calories, a fast food combo may be 1200 calories, leaving you 600 calories left for the rest of the day.
Regardless, in the end, weight = calorie intake. Make sure you’re eating less than you’re burning. End of story.
You Don’t Have to Exercise
Unless you want to get healthy or build muscle, you don’t have to exercise to lose weight. Of course, getting healthy and building muscle is a good thing, but if your goal is to lose a few sizes, all you need is a caloric deficit to lose weight.
With that being said, exercising can help speed up the weight loss since it does burn calories. Also, if you are eating a slight surplus of calories, then exercising will help eliminate that.
All you really need to do is:
- Watch your calorie intake. If you don’t want to count calories, don’t. But if you’re not losing weight, try to eliminate certain things from your diet, such as less sugar in your coffee. Choose mustard over mayonnaise at Subway. Choose ketchup sauce instead of that creamy pepper sauce at Whataburger.
- Exercise only to speed up weight loss – in the end, weight loss about 80% diet, and only 20% exercise.
I am not an expert, but I have lived through the complete loss of not knowing how to lose weight. These are the basics of losing weight, and I wish somebody other than Cosmopolitan educated me more about this subject when I was a teenager.
It seems so simple after you learn and achieve what you worked so hard for – but it’s not simple when all you’ve ever known is the crap mainstream articles feed you. Maybe it just sounds bad, but the brutal truth is, just eat less because you need caloric deficit to lose weight.