What Matters for Losing Weight – Calories or the Nutrition?

Calories in vs calories out is the most direct way of looking at losing weight.  This means you need to take in less calories than you’re burning. There is no way around this rule:

You have to burn more calories than you consume.

You have to burn calories at a reasonable rate compared to how much you ingest.  If you’re active, it will be easy. But if you’re mostly sedentary, be ready to eat like a bird.  I suggest committing 10 minutes a day to high intensity workout. Once that gets easy, find a new workout or increase your time.

The battle is mostly psychological and nutrition will help manage appetite better than just eating fewer calories of junk. Fats and protein are satiating, simple sugars just make you hungrier.  So technically yes, you can lose weight eating 2000 calories of twinkies a day but you’ll be miserable the whole time.

The Type of Food You Eat Matters When Losing Weight

It’s true that the bottom line is that if you burn more calories than you take in you’ll lose weight. Here’s the thing — it’s easier to do that if you’re taking in high quality fuel.

Here’s an example:

Johnny eats 800 calories of candy bar in the morning. Four hours later he’s burned through all the quick sugar and feels tired and shitty and hungry again. He skips lunch. By the time his workday is over, he still feels like shit and skips out on going to the gym. Also, he’s hungry as fuck so he smashes a large big mac meal for another 1350 calories. At the end of the day, he’s taken in 2150 calories, which would be a perfectly reasonable number of calories for him to take in if he was exercising. But since he rides sugar spikes and an empty stomach then is too tired to workout and overeats because he feels hungry, he fucks that up and doesn’t lose any weight.

Bobby starts his day with a 600 calorie breakfast of oatmeal, egg whites and spinach, and a protein shake. He pops his multivitamin and makes sure to bring his water bottle so he can stay well hydrated. He feels satiated and energetic until lunch, at which point he has a chicken breast, rice, beans, and mixed vegetables for another 600 calories. After work he’s still got plenty of energy to go to the gym where he burns 600 calories during his workout. After the gym, he has a 600 calorie dinner of salmon, rice, veggies, and a sweet potato. He has actually consumed more calories than Johnny — 2400. The difference is that he spaced out filling and nutritious meals with reasonable glycemic loads so that he had stable energy levels throughout the day. This left him with plenty of energy to workout, and not feeling hungry which made it easy for him to stick to his caloric goals.

Calories Are Ultimately What You Need to Measure

Overall nutrition and overall calories are both important. The calories are what adds (or removes) weight, based on whether or not you’re running a deficit or surplus from day to day. But nutrition is what ensures your body is healthy, even while you’re losing that weight.

The best way to lose weight is to run a deficit in calories, mainly by cutting out energy-dense foods like fried foods, large quantities of fruit, processed sugars, breads and carbohydrates, and replacing them with greater quantities of unsaturated and dairy fats, meat protein and vegetables.

Protein Is Always Important in Losing Weight

By “losing weight” people usually mean “losing body fat”. Typically, you want to lose fat, and keep your muscle mass (or even increase it).

So ramp up your protein intake, reduce carbs (definitely stop all refined carbs). Good luck losing fat when you produce insulin. Make sure you eat plenty of veggies (non carby ones, so no carrots nor beans) and drink a lot of water. Complement if needed with multivitamins to ensure you don’t create deficiencies. Make sure you don’t exceed 1800 kcal per day as a man. You’ll be tired, but within 2 weeks your body will start getting used to it.

Exercise: Mix of Cardio (don’t overdo it: 45min cardio regularly is more than enough) and strength training (you can go hard on that one).

In a nutshell: reduce you calorie intake, change the profile of your calorie intake, and increase exercise (mix of cardio and strength training).

Combine this with a daily exercise routine, and you’ll lose weight and be generally healthier.