Fad diets, low-carbohydrate diets and low-fat diets may promise fast weight loss through the use of supplements, meal replacements and other products but the real secret to permanent weight loss is through the restriction of total daily caloric intake while still providing for balanced nutrition.
Keeping to Healthy Calorie Levels
Keep in mind that extremely low levels of calories in the body lead to health issues. Calories are the energy found in food that the body requires for normal functions. The energy generated from the calories is the fuel that powers every action that the body makes from lifting a finger to participating in a triathlon.
The main sources of calories are the macro nutrients, namely, carbohydrates, proteins and fats despite the amounts of calories and, hence, energy provided varies from each food source. These calories are then converted to either physical energy or to stored fat in the body, which will remain as fat without and until the body draws on it as energy reserves. Thus, to lose weight, it is necessary to either lessen total daily caloric intake or increase physical activity or preferably both, in turn, will lead to faster burning of calories.
Computing the Calorie Restriction Amount
Despite the oft-complex calorie computations used by many weight loss experts, the idea is relatively simple. If a person eats more calories than the calories burned for energy, the faster weight gain happens. Even the basic formula for knowing exactly how much calories must be consumed and burned to lose weight is easy.
Take note that 1 pound of fat in the body equals 3,500 calories. So, if you want to lose 1 pound, then you must burn 3,500 calories. Now, let’s assume that you want to lose 1 pound in body weight every week. Just divide the number of calories in the pound by the number of days (3,500 / 7) to arrive at 500, which represents the amount of calories that must be less than your daily diet.
Cutting the Calories
Contrary to popular perception, cutting the calories from the daily diet is not an exercise in frustration. The secret to success in calorie restriction is to gradually ease into the required diet change instead of doing a complete 180-degree turn. You will end up with hunger pangs so great that bingeing on food in unavoidable, which will put you back to square one.
Experts recommend three steps in effective calorie restriction:
• Skip the high-calorie indulgences of the day such as the bowl of ice cream after dinner, the snack bar during lunch break, and the latte with extra cream in the mornings.
• Substitute the high-calorie food with a low-calorie option. Choose the option that will still appeal to your sense of taste so you do not feel too deprived. For example, opt for diet soda instead of blended caramel coffee iced coffee.
• Reduce proportion sizes for the obvious reason that lesser proportion sizes lead to fewer calories. Instead of the 1 cup pasta, opt for just a half cup.
Effective calorie restriction must be combined with moderate exercise and healthy lifestyle habits for the weight loss results to stick, so to speak. Keep in mind that this is the trinity of effective weight loss such that one missing component cripples your efforts to look and feel fit and healthy again.