What dietary advice have I given my clients again and again and again?
If you want to lose weight you have to, say it with me, burn more calories than you eat.
It’s a simple formula: Calories in vs. Calories out. If you just reduce the calories you’re eating and increase the calories you’re burning, the weight should just drop right on off, right?
I remember this little gem which I also wrote about, talking about and, yes, believed:
If you just increase your activity by 250 and reduce the number of calories you eat by 250, you’ll burn an extra 500 calories per day. At the end of the week, that means you will burn the magic number:
That is one pound, right?
And the more you burn and the less you eat, the more you lose right?
Raise your hand or comment if you’ve ever heard that, believe that…tried that approach.
Well, we used to think that but if that were the case, a lot of us wouldn’t have a weight problem. Even if you don’t exercise and cut your calories, you should still lose weight…except for one important fact:
A calories is NOT just a calorie.
Once you learn what I’m about to teach you, you’ll understand just what is going on with your body.
First, let’s just get this out of the way.
If there ever was a dirty word, it has to be that because carbs are bad, right?
Not all carbs are bad, but there’s one that’s notorious for nipping your weight loss goals in the butt…SUGAR.
Now, when we think of bad things, we often think about fat, because it has more calories per gram than carbs (9 calories) vs. carbs (4 calories). By that logic, a coke would be better for your weight loss goals than, say, a handful of nuts, right?
But we all know that sounds crazy.
First, let’s distinguish your carbs for a sec.
There are simple carbs:
- Raw sugar
- Brown sugar
- Glucose, fructose and sucrose
Things like that. Simple carbs usually equals simple nutrition (meaning not much there).
And here’s the thing: It’s the fructose we want to watch out for, which pretty much covers all the added sugars in processed foods.
When your body has too much fructose (let’s call fructose a ‘cupcake’ one of my all time favorite foods), your hunger hormone ghrelin goes UP. That means, when you eat something with added sugar, you only get hungrier.
Next, fructose doesn’t satisfy you. Meaning, there are parts of your brain that tell you – Hey, I’m satisfied now. You can stop eating. That means you have a reduced feeling of fullness.
Last, too much sugar can lead to insulin resistance and, here’s the rub, extra weight gain in the belly area.
So just think what that added sugar does to your hormones, appetite, and metabolic health.
Now, complex carbs are different because they’re high in fiber and digest more slowly – these are things like fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, whole grains. Don’t be afraid of those.
Speaking of carbs and weight loss, here’s something else that can happen to your body when you reduce carbs:
You automatically eat fewer calories (and just weight until I tell you what happens when you eat protein).
Studies show that low carb diets lead to more weight los than low-fat diets. Some of this due to losing water weight because here’s the thing about carbs: When you store a carb in your body, you automatically store water with it. When you reduce carbs, you’ll lose water weight right away.
If you keep with the low carb and eat more protein (which is usually how low-carb diets work), you’ll end up losing more fat.
That leads us to the next reason those calories matter and that is:
The thermic effect of food.
Believe if or not, you burn calories when you eat and the better you eat, the more calories you burn.
Here’s the breakdown:
You’ve probably heard that fat burns 9 calories per gram, and carbs and protein burn 4 calories per gram, but what about the calories you burn while digesting those nutrients?
Is that a question you’ve ever asked yourself? Well you will now.
Because here it is:
Fat burns 2—3 %
Carbs burn 6—8%
Protein burns 25-30%
Look at the difference there. Think of the difference and how many calories your body burns during digestion.
If you ate 100 calories of protein, that actually equals 75 calories because of how much energy it takes to digest it. Eat 100 calories of fat and you end up with 98 calories. You burn only 2 calories there!
100 calories of fat would about a mouthful of a chocolate brownie. 100 calories of protein a handful of nuts or around 4 ounces of cottage cheese.
Now, you see the difference there, right? So, let’s tackle the next reason a calorie is not a calorie:
Protein is the elixir of the gods when it comes to all the good things: Weight loss, feeling satisfied and getting a lot of the thermic effect of food.
In fact, when you add more protein to your diet, you automatically start losing weight without even counting calories. Protein pretty much puts fat loss on autopilot…that sounds good, right?
It also significantly reduces your appetite and remember how too much fructose actually increases your appetite.
Here’s an interesting study that proves this. In this study people who increased their protein intake by 30% of calories automatically started eating 441 fewer calories per day and lost 11 pounds in 12 weeks.
Without. Counting. Calories.
Now, you know I’m big on exercise and you should be doing that, but think about it: If you’re a 150 pound person who walked a very fast pace of 4 mph for 60 minutes, you would burn 357 calories (depending on a number of factors).
That shows you exactly how important food is to losing weight.
Now…you know more than you did and you know that it really isn’t about just reducing calories, but choosing the right kind of calories. So what do you do with all of this? How do you move forward?
How do you change what you’re eating so that you automatically drop weight while burning more belly fat?
The easiest way to make the most progress is to make simple changes in your diet with a focus on:
- More lean protein
- Lots of vegetables
- A focus on fiber
- Ditching the added sugar in things like soft drinks and other processed foods
Most of us already know all of this, but to really make it happen, you need a plan. I’ve got one for you:
Belly Fat Breakthrough 14-Day Meal Plan.
It basically incorporates everything you need to get more whole foods in your diet, keep you satisfied and take the guesswork out of it. This is a Done-For-You program with all the recipes, grocery lists, nutritional info, and more. Scoop it up now while it’s still available! If you need more help, you can always email me too.
I’m 47 years old, 6’4 and recently reached 300lbs. I knew I would have to make some changes soon so when I reached 300 that was it. I cut out all snacks, changed from Pepsi to Pepsi Zero with dinner and no other drinks besides coffee in the morning and water all day. I’ve replaced a lot of meals with healthier meals and even started the treadmill 3-5 times a week. I’ve only lost 17 pounds in almost 6 weeks. I really thought I would have lost more by now. Should I be taking a water pill or something to help speed up my metabolism?
My second question is have you heard of intermittent fasting and is it a good or better way to lose the weight?
Hi, Spencer and thanks for the comment. Actually, weight loss is almost always slower than we think it should be and here’s the thing – the scale doesn’t really measure what you’re losing and/or gaining. You could weigh yourself in the morning and in the evening, and gain up to 10 pounds just because you ate and drank normally throughout the day. It sounds like you’re doing everything right and you’ve changed a lot of habits, which is so great! I’m very proud of you and you should be proud of yourself. 17 pounds is a lot! And if you think about how long it takes to gain the wait, six weeks is probably just a flash in the pan. They have done some interesting studies on intermittent fasting. I did a quick video that you might want to watch: https://vimeo.com/389103429. I wouldn’t recommend water pills unless you talk to your doctor. Are you exercising at all?