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How weight loss works

When we talk about energy balance in weight management, we're talking about the balance between the energy that you get from the foods you eat and the energy that your body burns in everyday activities such as walking, dressing, growing hair... even breathing! Energy that comes into the body through the food we eat is measured in calories.

Now for the balancing part.
If you eat food containing more calories than you use up, your weight will increase, as the extra calories that are not used will be stored as fat. The opposite is true for weight loss: when your energy use, or the number of calories that you burn, is higher than the number of calories you consume, you lose weight.

But that's just one side to the story. Weight loss is more complicated than keeping track of calories in and calories out. While calorie-restrictive diets might be effective in the short term, there can be negative consequences on your bone health and muscle strength. Some studies have also shown that reducing your caloric intake can increase your appetite to compensate, leading to overall weight gain.

Here are a few strategies to manage your weight safely and sustainably:

Changing your diet: There are many medically-studied dietary patterns out there that have been shown to help you lose weight in a healthy manner long-term, such as the DASH dietary pattern.  A dietician can help you to explore different dietary patterns and find what works best for your situation.

Getting plenty of exercise: Being engaged in moderately-to-vigorously-intense aerobic physical activity for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week can yield many health benefits. Being active will help you to not only reduce your weight and sustain those losses, but will also keep your heart healthy and improve your mental health.

Changing both your diet and your exercise habits: Eat differently and exercise more. Doing these things together will let you reap the benefits of both strategies. In fact, studies show that dietary changes alongside increasing physical activity leads to more weight loss than either method alone. But that doesn't mean that you have to make these changes all at once; take it slow and do what you're most comfortable with first.  

If all this seems overwhelming, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian. They can help you meet your individual needs in your weight-loss journey by guiding you towards making healthy choices towards effective weight loss.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2024. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source:

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