Many methods of fat loss can be disputed, but the effectiveness of a caloric deficit cannot be. There is a lot of hype over specific, “special” diets (ketogenic, paleo, intermittent fasting, etc) or specific exercise modalities, but that is ALL it is, hype.
Creating a caloric deficit (eating below your total daily energy expenditure) is what each and every person looking to lose weight should focus on.
There is always a new diet that pops up and catches people’s attention with its promises of quick, effortless results. The truth about these diets is, they do work (in causing you to lose weight, though NOT quick and effortlessly)!
However, it is not the diet that works per se, it is the caloric deficit the particular diet creates that causes the weight loss. Every diet out there WILL work as long as it creates a caloric deficit (causing you to take in less energy than is required to maintain your weight).
What needs to be focused on is adopting a diet that a) puts you in a caloric deficit and b) is sustainable for you long-term.
Without a caloric deficit, you will not lose weight and if the diet you adopt (that puts you in a deficit) is not sustainable you will not continue it long enough to reap the results.
Many fail to lose weight for many reasons but a common one is… they are not truly in a caloric deficit.
Often times, we misjudge the caloric content of the food we eat and overall our daily intake.
If you are not losing weight, it is almost always because you are taking in too many calories. And it is just a small daily calorie intake over our intended one that can cause this.
An example of this:
If someone aims to put themselves in a 500 calorie deficit but miscalculate their daily intake by just 75 calories, they end up more than cancelling out their intended deficit (and end up 25 calories over maintenance).
Now they are NOT in a deficit but taking in a small amount over their maintenance calories which would cause them to gain weight (though very, very slowly).
However, the fact that they are not losing weight would cause the individual to be confused, frustrated, and discouraged among other feelings.
Unfortunately, many times this is what leads many people to quit trying to lose weight altogether and go back to their old lifestyle.
Caloric deficit, it is the king ingredient of weight loss. Many methods of losing weight can be disputed, but the effectiveness of a caloric deficit is not one of them.
When we take in less than we expend our bodies need to get the energy from somewhere (hopefully fat) and when that stored energy is used we end up lighter than before.
Key Take Away Points:
Do NOT believe all the hype about special diets and the promises that come with them (claiming they will provide quick results). Many of these diets are not sustainable, create huge deficits, and mess up your metabolism.
Most of these diets do work but ONLY because they put the individual in a caloric deficit.
In order to lose weight you NEED to be in a caloric deficit (taking in fewer calories than you expend). So skip the fancy, “special”, and/or cutting edge diets and focus on creating a caloric deficit (through lowering calorie intake and increasing physical activity) in a way that you can continue and live with long-term.
Tips/Advice Regarding Creating a Deficit:
-Drop calories slowly. Let your body adapt both mentally and physically
-Focus on making healthy substitutes rather than eating less. Healthier foods are usually more satiating (causing you to feel full quicker and therefore eat less).
-Whatever diet you choose make sure it does not drop calories below your Resting Metabolic Rate (roughly 11×body weight).
Some further reading:
There are three key aspects of weight loss that should NOT be overlooked. Though caloric deficit alone (without these) would cause an individual to lose weight, these key aspects will ensure the weight lost is fat and that you keep the weight off long-term.
-Protein Intake: Key Benefits of Protein for Fat Loss
-Resistance Exercise: Benefits of Resistance Exercise for Weight Loss