Calories in – Calories out. We’ve heard it before and this has been contested, but when the calories we put in equal the calories we expend, we maintain our weight. So to lose weight, or preferably lose excess body fat, we can:
1) reduce the calories in, or
2) increase the calories out, or
3) a combination of the two (my preference).
Depending on how many calories a person consumes, they may have options. Maybe you can cut your calories in half, but that probably won’t last long unless you are eating like an elephant right now! We can only reduce our calories to a certain point before it becomes unhealthy; we need enough food to supply the necessary nutrients for our body to thrive, and nutrients through food are always preferable to supplements. When we don't eat enough food, our body fights back to prevent death, so holds onto the fat, which is what we usually want to get rid of first.
Maybe you can spend your whole morning or evening doing cardio to lose some pounds. But I don’t think you’ll last very long with that either – it’s just not sustainable to work your body hard without enough rest. And it takes longer to burn off calories through exercise than to avoid eating them in the first place.
Neither an excess of cardio nor a drastic reduction of calories eaten is going to work in the long-term or give you the healthy, happy body you deserve. So the best solution is to combine a healthy diet (with enough nutrients to fuel your body) with an appropriate amount of cardio and strength training exercise (to boost your metabolism and burn off enough calories to leave your body in a calorie deficit).
By keeping a daily food journal and calculating your total daily calories (more easily done with an app – and there’s lots of those available) you’ll be able to determine how much you can reduce your daily calorie intake.
If you are a women, you should be eating at least 1200 calories/ day to sustain a healthy body. If counting calories just isn’t going to happen in your lifetime, you can still track your food and how much you are eating – you’ll see some trends and be able to see what can be cut out to help promote a healthier calorie in/out balance.
Cardio on its own will burn calories, but adding strength training will boost the effect – burning more calories and building muscles that naturally burn more calories, even at rest. And when that excess fat starts to melt away, you are left with some pretty nice looking muscle tone showing through from underneath! Bonus!!
Have you tried to lose weight on a calorie restricted diet? How did that go?
Are you trying to lose weight now? What are you doing to reach that goal?
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