Losing Weight Comes Down to an Energy Balance

Losing Weight Comes Down to an Energy Balance

Without even being aware of the “energy balance” concept, people continue to live according to an overly-simple philosophy – eat when hungry, eat less to lose weight. Of course, we are also aware that filling our lives with physical exercising is quite important, but balancing energy still gets overlooked.

However, it is most often the answer certain people search for in questions like: “Why am I still not losing weight, even though I am doing everything to lose these extra pounds?” Not knowing what the real deciding factor is in achieving fitness goals really adds up to frustration. The bigger picture of dieting is what nutrition experts also lose sight of, so let’s see what it is.

Energy IN vs Energy OUT

We eat food and our bodies absorb calories for fuel. It is our bodies’ energy, while energy balance is the balance of calories consumed compared to calories burned. Energy goes in and energy goes out, the concept is simple. Calories are burned by digesting food, breathing, and other automatic metabolic processes, as well as through our daily routines. You burn calories by getting out of bed, taking a shower, going to the bus stop, shopping for groceries, cleaning your house, and other similar tasks. Those who are more physically active burn much more calories than those who are not, and burning calories (ENERGY OUT) is an important factor in maintaining energy balance.

ENERGY IN > ENERGY OUT – Weight gain
ENERGY IN < ENERGY OUT – Weight loss

This refers to balance over time, and your energy IN and OUT don’t have to balance every day.

Nutrition Changes

The main variables for body composition are lifestyle, exercise, recovery, and nutrition. It all starts with nutrition because it is the greatest leverage point. The main problem is knowing when and what to change – the type and amount of food you eat, when you eat, what it’s made up of, and what other foods you eat it with. If you’re going to achieve an overall impact and long-term changes, these components are important. On the other hand, our bodies are not all the same, and certain nutrition changes have different total value for different people.

Calorie restriction or over-consumption will most likely produce equal losses/gains in lean or fat mass, meaning that without proper exercise people usually look like smaller/bigger versions of themselves. Overall lifestyle changes are required in order to support your energy balance and prevent excessive positive/negative swings. If your shoe cabinet lacks a pair of gym shoes, then be sure that your fitness efforts won’t give you the desired results.

Skewed Energy Balance

The reason for the skewed energy balance of 21st century man is not just the increased consumption of processed foods and repeated dieting. It is related to the entire environment, and in order to balance your energy, you also have to stop believing and paying attention to the advertisement of unhealthy foods. Avoid them, exercise regularly, and raise your body awareness. Stop counting calories, because it will not solve any of your problems. People like numbers, and to be able to say that they’ve lost an X amount of weight, but the real calorie number that we intake and deplete can’t be really tracked. The nutrition facts on food packages don’t mean anything as well, because you have to know what you’re eating.

Extra Calorie Intake

Watch out, because they sneak in without us being aware. It happens when we choose to consume high calorie density food. For example, we can avoid several hundred calories of fat simply by choosing extra lean over lean protein. Do you prepare all your meals with olive oil? That’s almost a thousand extra calories per day.

With these extra calories sneaking into our diet, we can overeat without being any more full or changing anything about our day.

Positive/Negative Energy Balance: How to Create It?

Building muscle with weight training, engaging in non-exercise physical activity, eating fruit, vegetables and lean protein are all great ways for achieving a negative energy balance. Don’t lose time with extreme dieting, and remember to eat at regular intervals.

A positive energy balance, on the other hand, can be achieved by consuming shakes (or any other healthy liquids with calories), energy dense foods, having enough sleep per night, and engaging in heavy resistance training.

Staying in both positive and negative energy states can be uncomfortable, because the body then loses its balance due to being in an extreme state. However, once you achieve your goals, maintaining it will be much easier.

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