Sunday, January 22, 2012


To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. This is the simple fact. No matter how you get to the point of burning more calories than you consume, it still boils down to "Eat Less and Exercise" Even the people who have surgery to lose weight are still following the "eat less and exercise" plan. Yes, the surgery makes it impossible for them to do anything other than eat less, but that's still what's causing their weight loss.

The basic math for weight loss is a deficit of 3,500 calories equals a loss of one pound of fat. It's not exactly that amount, and there are hints that a thin person may be able to lose more weight with a smaller deficit because they're losing lean with the fat. In general, most people are trying to lose the fat, not the lean, so the 3,500 calorie figure is a good one to use. This deficit can be reached via eating fewer calories, exercising more or a combination of both. If you can find 500 calories to easily cut from your daily diet, you can lose a pound a week without much effort. That's two 20 ounce bottles of Cherry Coke.

I don't consume many empty calories. I rarely drink soda or alcohol. In fact, I don't drink many calories at all. It's something I stopped doing years ago when I was trying to lose some weight. It really worked. Drinking doesn't fill you up like solid food, so drinking calories adds to your daily caloric intake, but doesn't keep you satisfied until the next meal. Milk is the exception to this rule, and that's because of the protein. Yes, milk has sugar, but only natural sugar, not added like in soda. If you drink fat-free milk, it is not empty calories. (That link will take you to the dieting comic "Empty Calories." It's like "Cathy," only less screeching and funny.)

There are many other empty calories that we all consume. The key is to limit them to rare occasions so they're not adding up to weight gain.

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