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7 Facts That Will Change The Way You Approach Fat Loss



From fad diets to extreme workouts, to the latest supplement your bestie swears by, there’s an ocean of advice when it comes to fat loss. And with each trend garnering its own little cult shouting either for or against them, it could leave you scratching your head even more than the end of a Christopher Nolan film.


Now, if you’re looking for a complete A to Z guide on losing weight that you can just switch your brain off and follow…this isn’t it. As you’ll realise, weight management is quite nuanced and there isn’t a one size fits all solution (but that’s a good thing!).


The purpose of this piece is to equip you with some of the latest science-backed facts to help you cut through all the noise and make decisions a lot simpler.

 

1. You will not lose weight unless you’re in a caloric deficit


It doesn’t matter how many carbs you cut, how low-fat you go, or miles you run, no deficit = no weight loss. A calorie deficit is just the technical term for when you burn more calories than you consume.


The key takeaway here is that there is no ‘’best’’ diet or workout for fat loss. There are countless ways to consume less calories and burn more of them. Ignore whoever tells you otherwise and find what works for you.

 

2. There is roughly 3,500 calories in a pound of fat


This is how much you would need to consume below or above your maintenance calories (how much you burn in a day) to lose or gain a pound of fat. So, the good news is, those weekend cheat meals, treats, or brunches probably don’t do as much damage as you thought. It’s usually a series of smaller calorie surpluses over time that lead to weight gain.


So instead of trying to be perfect with your diet, strive to be good, consistently.

 

3. Fewer calories does not mean less food


One of, if not the biggest struggles faced on a weight loss journey is hunger. But through choosing low-calorie, high-volume foods that are rich in protein, fiber, and/or water, you can absolutely eat more food while losing weight.

Don’t trust me? Take a look at 100 calories of peanut butter vs. 100 calories of watermelon and come back to me on which you think will fill you up more.

And before you ask, yes, you can still have the peanut butter (or insert your favourite calorie dense food), as long as you stay within your calorie target.


4. Protein is the most satiating macronutrient


There’s so much talk around carbs and fats these days, that it’s easy to lose sight of arguably the most important of the three macronutrients. Not only is protein vital for building or maintaining hard-earned muscle (especially when in a deficit), it’s by far the most filling!


Protein also has a higher Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) compared to carbs and fats, meaning it burns more calories during the process of digestion itself. So regardless of what diet you choose, prioritize protein! Aim for around one gram of protein per pound of your target/ideal bodyweight, or lean body mass.

 

5. Carb are not making you fat


This one needs to be put to rest, permanently! Gaining weight is a result of consuming too many calories, not just carbs. Carbs are actually your body’s preferred energy source and are great for fuelling workouts and activity at moderate to high intensities.  So, feel free to keep the pasta and potatoes on your plate, and instead focus on how they are prepared (air fryer chips > deep fried) and your portions.

 

6. Fats are an essential part of a healthy, balanced diet


As fats are the most calorie dense of the three macros (nine calories per gram, compared to four for carbs and protein), you may be tempted to cut them out completely. But dietary fats are essential! They provide a source of energy, are required to produce certain hormones, and even absorb key vitamins. So, make sure you’re getting at least 0.5 grams per kg of bodyweight.

 

7. Exercise isn’t required for fat loss [insert gasp]


Controversial, but true. Fun fact, your body actually burns a majority of its calories at rest – to breathe, to pump blood, to think, to do anything and everything related to keeping you alive. So technically, you could lose weight lying in bed all day and binging Baby Reindeer (as long you consume less calories than your body expends).


However, exercise is important for overall mental and physical wellbeing. It also increases your calorie output, helping you create a bigger deficit, and allowing you to get more food and nutrients in.


But I can’t state this enough, it doesn’t have to be the chore or that brutal workout you saw on TikTok. Whether it’s running, cozy cardio, padel, or Pilates, it could be anything active that you enjoy and can do consistently. Just hitting a daily step target for example is one of the most effective, and sustainable ways to increase calorie output.


Now I would recommend some form of weight/resistance training to build muscle and bring all the benefits that come with it, but again, this depends on what’s important to you.

 

So how many calories should I consume?


To close, there’s been a lot of talk about calorie deficits throughout the piece, and I trust by this point, you get why it's so important. But you might be wondering, how do I know what my maintenance calories are? The simplest way is to use one of the many online calculators. This one by NASM, will even help you calculate the daily deficit you’d need to create based on your weight loss goal. From there, you could use an app like MyFitnessPal (it’s free!) to track your calories/macros.

 

Lastly, give this a share if you learned something new and good luck on your weight loss journey!



Ethan Zach Nair, Certified PT and Nutritionist


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