When it comes time to seriously commit to losing weight the vast majority of the population will immediately think in terms of cutting calories. We all know that in order to lose weight we will need to burn more calories than we take in. I guess many people start with calorie intake to lose weight because with all the diet plans and supplements available it just make this method, as opposed to exercise, seem easier.
The truth is though that calorie cutting alone probably won’t be enough to lose all the weight you want to lose. And here’s why. One pound of fat is equal to 3500 calories. That means in order to lose just one pound of fat we will need to decrease our caloric intake by 3500 calories. Most people should be taking in between 1,500 and 2,500 calories daily. That means you would need to go without food for days just to lose one pound of fat! Impossible, and unhealthy.
If you keep in mind that your body works kind of like a furnace, you will understand why you need to continuously supply it with fuel. Even if you could cut way back on the calories you take in daily, it still wouldn’t work. Your body was designed to keep itself alive, at all costs. It’s hardwired to protect itself from starvation. If you cut way back on the calories you take in, your body will think it’s starving and will shut down as much as it can to preserve resources. That means your metabolism will slow way, way down and you won’t lose any weight.
The one thing you want to do when trying to lose weight is to keep your metabolism burning nice and hot so you can burn as many calories as possible. In order to keep your metabolism burning hot you will need to constantly provide it with a sufficient amount of fuel.
Keeping your metabolism burning hot is another reason why restricting your caloric intake alone is not the optimum way to lose weight. If you combine some form of exercise, particularly weight training, you will really ramp up your metabolism. Why? Simple, muscle burns hotter than fat. For every bit of muscle you add to your body you are permanently ramping up your metabolism.
One word of caution for all of you women out there: you do not have to worry about ‘bulking up’ if you lift weights. You would only be able to get bulky, if you wanted to, by basically becoming a full time weight lifter. The women you see who are all bulked up work out for hours every single day, they eat perfectly, and sometimes they are even taking supplements.
You can lift weights a few times a week and you won’t bulk up. What you will do is tone up which will make you look ‘tighter’ which means you will look slimmer no matter what your actual weight is. If you and your best friend both weigh 120 lbs but you are toned and she isn’t you will look a lot slimmer. So start lifting those weights.
If you took two people of the exact same weight, age, and gender, the only difference is that one had more muscle mass than the other, and compared their metabolic rate you would see that the one with the higher muscle mass would have a much higher metabolism all the time, even while they were sleeping or watching t.v.
When you keep these facts in mind you will see that calorie intake to lose weight is a very important element, but it is only part of the equation. To truly optimize your weight loss efforts combine diet with some form of exercise program. Not only will you more quickly achieve your weight loss goals, you will also have a healthier, better looking body.