For some odd reason, losing weight has a complex aurora that surrounds it. For proof, visit a supplement store and count how many companies sell products that claim you can't lose weight without their ground breaking diet pill. Visit your neighborhood gym and let a personal trainer convince you that reaching goals is impossible unless you hire help. With all of these interests pulling you in different directions, it's easy to see why weight loss can be confusing and frustrating.
Fortunately, weight loss, getting into shape and improving your overall health is simple. This article focuses on my friend and co-worker Luke, a 22 year old member of the United States Air Force. We were recently deployed to Iraq together (a beautiful country in the Middle East) for 6 months and made it our mission to improve our bodies. Luke's motivation (combined with my expertise and guidance) helped him lose 31 pounds over the coarse of that 6 months. He didn't subscribe to any extreme weight loss methods or complicated plans. His secret: move more and eat less.
Over the course of 6 months, Luke lost 31 pounds starting at 220lbs and ending at 189lbs. His BMI dropped from 29 (almost obese) to 24.9 which is considered normal. His body fat percentage fell from 17% to 12%. He also improved his PT (physical training) test score from an 89.8 (considered good) to a 93.5 (considered excellent).
Losing Weight 101
Losing weight isn't rocket science and to succeed, all you need is the right calorie balance. When you eat, your body can either burn the energy right away or store it as glucose, glycogen and body fat for later use. At the end of the day, if you burn more calories than you eat, you WILL lose weight. By creating this calorie deficit (burning more calories than you eat), your body is forced to go to sources other than food for energy. If you burn 2,500 calories per day and only eat 2,000, your body needs to make up that 500 calorie difference from something other than food, typically body fat. This is what causes weight loss. Pills, whacky diets and crazy exercise routines that claim you can lose weight without putting forth any effort are: 1) lying to you 2) a waste of money and 3) unhealthy.
The Bottom Line
The calorie balance equation has two sides: calories burned and calories eaten. That's two opportunities for you to make changes to your behavior. Losing weight only requires that you create a calorie deficit. It's irrelevant whether you accomplish that by eating less or exercising more. If you're looking for more than simple weight loss, i.e. an improvement in overall health, you'll need to bring your calorie intake under control while also increasing your physical activity level. This will yield the healthiest, longest lasting and quickest results.
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