Can Eating Less Help You Lose Weight?
By now it’s no secret that weight is an issue for many, many people in the world. And, while many still struggle to find a decent meal every day, those of us living in the developed world are inundated with food and invitations to overindulge on almost an hourly basis.
Fad diets have been around for decades now as a means to combat this problem, and many people have had varying success with everything from grapefruit juice to low fat to high protein diet strategies. However, all of these methods have one thing in common: eat less, weigh less.
It seems like such a simple solution. By taking in fewer calories, you can lose weight as your body taps into fat stores for fuel. In fact, a very popular study in the New England Journal of Medicine from 2009 even proved that variations in diet did not have a major impact on weight loss as much as simple calorie reduction.
Why is this, though? Think of it this way: calories are basically units of fuel that your body uses to function. These functions range from the blood your heart pumps to the energy and muscle use needed to walk across the room to the exertion of a tough workout on both the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems.
Food provides those calories and in its absence, the body will begin to break down fat in order to create the fuel it needs. On the flip side, any excess calories that you consume will be stored as fat for use in the event that you take in too little.
The more activity that you do, the more calories you will burn. However, the chances of having a significant impact on weight based on activity level alone are slim since many of us actually eat more on days when we are particularly active. Think about it, if you go for a long hike on a weekend, aren’t you more likely to have a big dinner after?
This is where caloric restriction (a fancy term for eating less) comes in handy. The USDA bases its daily recommendations on a 2,000 calorie diet which may or may not be accurate for your body type, age, and activity level. However, for argument’s sake, let’s assume that 2,000 is the magic number of calories that your body needs.
One pound of body fat is equivalent to 3,500 calories. Therefore, to lose one pound you need to consume 3,500 calories less than you burn during a period of time. This can be achieved through exercise, and if you have the time to dedicate to intense physical activity, you absolutely should do that. But let’s face it: most of us are fat because we don’t have that time.
What’s the other option? EAT LESS. If you need 2,000 calories a day and only eat 1,500, you will lose a pound a week. It’s that simple and you didn’t even need to buy a new pair of running shoes to do it.
What people often do is share their experiences on weight loss online. A good idea might be to use some people search engine listed here and search by ‘interest’ (improvement, weight loss etc.)