The Science of Weight Loss
There’s no doubt that obesity is a growing phenomenon in each and every corner of the globe. While new fads and diet techniques seemingly pop up every hour on the hour, the science of weight loss is the same as it has always been. Since the beginning of time, our bodies have been programed to react a certain way, based on what we do.
At the end of the day, our bodies will gain, maintain, or lose weight based on what foods we consume and how much energy we use. It’s no secret that people who consume less food and/or exercise more typically are thinner than those people who consume more foods and have an inactive lifestyle.
When your body burns more energy that it consumes from calories it creates what is known as a caloric deficit. This is where all weight loss begins.
The Caloric Deficit Diet
Excluding surgical procedures, it is impossible to lose weight without maintaining a caloric deficit. Each and every weight loss program is founded on the premise of creating a caloric deficit. There are two main ways to achieve this:
The First Option: Consume Less Calories
When you consume large quantities of foods – even healthy foods – your body is trained to store excess calories as fats. This occurs because the body maintains fat as an emergency energy reserve. Thus, if we do not supply our bodies with enough carbohydrates to use for energy, the body is able to burn our stored fat for energy. It is essentially a fail-safe makes it extremely hard to die due to an insufficient supply of energy.
As we said either – the body is incredibly smart and it’s programmed to respond in certain ways based on the input it receives. It is capable of losing weight naturally through a caloric deficit.
When your body receives a surplus of calories, it is trained to store the surplus as fats. These fats stay on your body until they are burnt through daily activity, dieting, and/or exercise.
When your body receives an adequate amount of calories, it is able to maintain its weight. Once you lose the excess fat, this is the ideal scenario that will allow you to keep the weight off.
When your body has an insufficient amount of calories, it burns the fats that it stored during the time period in which it received a calorie surplus. This fat is converted to energy. As our bodies burn more and more fat during a caloric deficit diet, we lose more and more fat.
The Second Option: Increase Your Activity Level
As we have established, all weight loss is generated by creating a caloric deficit. Normally, people think about dieting when they think about ‘weight loss’. However, consuming the same amount of calories while you burn more calories via exercise and an increased activity level also creates a caloric deficit.
This deficit occurs from burning additional calories. It’s no secret that exercise burns calories. As such, simply increasing the amount of calories you burn each day can generate substantial weight loss.
In fact, burning 500 calories more each day, or consuming 500 calories less each day, or some mix of both will result in one pound of weight loss each week. If you can maintain a healthy mix of diet and exercise, a deficit of 1000 calories will burn two pounds of fat each week. That’s an easy and healthy 50 to 100 pounds of weight loss in just one year.
The Balancing Act of Weight Loss
Before we get into the main types of deficit diets, we need to mention that every single person has a weight loss sweet spot. This sweet spot is different for each person and is due to their goals, tolerance, and commitment.
Keep in mind, that the smaller the caloric deficit, the longer it will take to see results. On the flip side, the larger the caloric deficit the quicker you will see weight loss results. However, there is a ‘happy medium’ between the caloric deficit and the time you see results.
When you maintain a smaller caloric deficit, it is much easier to maintain and to stick with. This ensures that you will definitely see results. A larger caloric deficit is harder to maintain and can lead to quitting your diet, or overeating due to the significant drop in calorie consumption.
Because of this, most dieters end up in the middle of a small and a large caloric deficit. That is generally where the ‘happy medium’ will be!
Let’s take a look at the three different levels of caloric deficits.
The Small Calorific Deficit Diet
This level is the easiest level to achieve sustainable weight loss. This is due to the insignificant amount of the caloric deficit. As such, not much change is needed to your current diet. You will experience little to no hunger and withdraw symptoms on a small deficit diet.
Additionally, the potential loss of muscle mass is lower. Your body will not be forced to burn protein for energy which will leave your muscle mass intact. If you want to lose a minimal amount of weight, or want to lose significant weight over time than the small deficit diet is for you.
A small deficit diet would generate a caloric deficit of roughly 250 calories each day. This generates approximately 2 pounds of weight loss per month.
The Moderate Calorific Deficit Diet
This is where the happy medium is found for most dieters. Somewhere within the moderate deficit diet, you will likely find the perfect ratio of sustainable deficit and results. This aids in achieving constant, healthy, sustainable weight loss. The muscles will suffer little to no loss. Especially if you maintain a healthy diet that provides them with the nutrients they need.
A moderate deficit diet will require a deficit of approximately 500 to 750 calories each day. This will result in approximately 4 to 6 pounds of consistent weight loss each month.
The Large Calorific Deficit Diet
On the high end, we have the large deficit diet. The large deficit diet is the hardest to maintain. But, it is excellent for those who want to drop a lot of weight in a short amount of time. For instance, if spring break is around the corner and you want to melt away a few pounds.
However, it is much harder to sustain overtime. Thus, it usually ends with minimal results or a failed diet attempt. The muscles can suffer from a lack of proper nutrition if a healthy low calorie diet isn’t adhered to. It is especially important to consume foods that aid your muscles and body when on a large deficit diet.
A large deficit diet will require a caloric deficit of 1000 or more pounds. This will generate 8 pounds of weight loss each month. But, is it sustainable? Only you can decide.
Wrapping It Up
As you can see, the science of weight loss is pretty simplistic. No matter what the new fad is or the current marketing hype is, the science has always been and will always be the same. As we mentioned earlier, all diets and weight loss exercise plans are founded on creating a deficit diet.
The easiest way to create a deficit diet is to replace part or all of a high calorie meal with a replacement shake. A replacement shake, or a protein shake, is a blast of vital nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, and carbs that you consume in normal meals. However, meal replacement shakes have been formulated over time to contain fewer and fewer calories which leads to weight loss. Be sure to add a meal replacement shake to accelerate your healthy weight loss journey.
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