To lose weight, a person needs to use up more calories than consumed. One pound of fat equals about 3,500 calories. To lose one pound of fat, the body needs to use up 3,500 calories. By creating a daily deficit of 500 calories every day, one pound can be lost every week. Creating a daily deficit can be achieved by reducing caloric intake or increasing physical activity or both.
Decreasing food intake is much more effective than increasing physical activity to lose weight. If you want to achieve a 300 kcal energy deficit you can run in the park for 3 miles or not eat 2 ounces of potato chips. It’s as simple as that. Of course, both exercising and restricting calorie intake together would be even better.
There are a myriad of diet plans that lead us to believe that we’ll lose weight overnight and maintain our weight loss. There are Paleo diets, low-carb diets, low glycemic diets, low-fat diets, and a lot of variations of all these. There is little evidence that any particular diet works better with any person’s specific metabolism. The fact is that most diets will help you lose weight if you stick to it.
It’s how many calories that matters for energy balance. From the point of view of body weight, a calorie is a calorie regardless of where it’s coming from. A person can put on weight from overeating healthy food as well as eating too much unhealthy food. It’s healthier to eat fruit and veggies, and it’s a lot easier to over eat junk food compared to healthy food. Where the calories originate from is important though in that they have an impact on satiety.
Protein is the most fulfilling nutrient. Research has proven that protein is helpful for reducing appetite as well as increasing metabolic rate. A high protein diet can increase calories burned because protein needs energy to metabolize. Carbohydrates, especially refined carbs and sugars tend to have the opposite effect.