How the energy surplus comes to be

We accept that an energy deficit causes fat loss, which means that an energy surplus is responsible for fat gain.

So how did this happen?

Decreased physical activity
A decrease in physical activity is a common starting point, particularly at two key points in people’s lives - when they start working fulltime and have children

When I ask the question ‘when did you last weigh [insert goal here]?’ many people refer back to their university days.

Let’s compare the lifestyle of a uni student compared to working fulltime in an office.

Campus life involved a lot more walking (between classes and carparks), plus many casual jobs in hospitality and retail involve being on your feet for long periods of time.

This has been replaced by sitting at a desk all day.

There’s also a more flexible schedule whilst at university, which makes fitting in a training session easier.

However, with some discipline and structure, it’s quite manageable, until children come along...

Then it becomes harder to get out to exercise or make it to the gym.

Possible? Yes.

More challenging? Definitely.

Unless it’s a high priority and something enjoy/benefit from, it will often decrease during the early stages of parenthood.

The result: less energy expenditure.


Increased energy intake
Energy intake on an average day tends to remain similar to younger days, even a touch less.

But what often changes is the frequency of eating out, as food becomes a celebration and reward.

If the standard daily energy intake remains the same, but the frequency of eating out (which comes with increased energy intake compared to a standard meal) then the net result increased energy intake.

The result: increased energy intake.


Fat gain
If energy expenditure drops and energy intake increases, the chances of creating an energy surplus skyrocket.

It’s often not a drastic weight gain, maybe 1-4 kilograms per year.

But it slowly accumulates, making physical activity harder and solidifying eating habits of negligible benefit.

The result: fat gain - slow, but hard to lose.

Tom Fitzgerald