The #1 absolute key to losing weight and looking great simply put is hard work! You may be working hard and busting your ass in the gym, but that is only part of the equation, the major part of the solution is DIET, DIET, and DIET. The only thing that you need to know to lose weight is that you must expend more calories than you consume. Your body needs calories or in other words, energy from food, just to function and perform at optimal levels; these functions include but are not limited to, heart function, brain function, digestive function and more, even breathing requires calories. The average human body needs anywhere from 1500-2000 calories a day just for maintenance, and it gets this energy from either food or stored energy in the body. This stored energy can come in the form of fat, glycogen, muscle proteins, or a mixture of all three.
When losing weight the proper way to go about it is to target and reduce mainly body fat, this way you’ll look good, feel good, and be healthier. Though if you eat too little, starve yourself, and/or workout too hard you can actually keep your body from burning mainly fat and instead it will target muscle proteins and glycogen; you’ll still be losing weight but mainly skeletal muscle and you could end up looking what’s called “skinny-fat”.
The proper and safe way to go about losing the weight is to aim for a loss of 1-2 pounds each week (a little more if you’re on the obese side of things, and a little less if you’re already fairly lean). A pound of fat consists of approximately 3500 calories, so in order to lose one pound of fat a week you’d need to be in a calorie deficit of 500 calories a day for 7 days, make sense? 500Calories x 7Days = 3500Calories, so if you’d want to drop 2 pounds every week you’d need to be in a calorie deficit of 1000 calories per day to add up to 7000 calories (and no more) or 2 pounds of that lovely fat by the end of the week. This is the best approach to attacking weight/fat-loss for average to overweight individuals; it’s safe, effective, you’ll be able to function at almost 100%, and you’ll lose little to no muscle at all if you follow this route. If you get impatient, if you go too hard into diet mode, if you spend excessive time in the gym killing yourself doing cardio, you’re not going to get 100% of the results you want, you’ll feel like crap, you’ll drop a lot of strength and muscle, you’ll most likely plateau at some point and stop dropping the pounds and possibly even reverse weight loss.
In the next articles to come I’ll continue to go more in depth about these details, certain diets, why they work/don’t, and for a lot of you ladies out there I’ll talk about why it’s important to have and spare muscle because you’ll actually burn more calories with it!