Fat loss: just energy in/out?
This week will be filled with questions submitted via the Questions Page.
I typically won't answer questions all week, but this week is an exception.
Q: Is fat loss just about energy in and energy out (energy balance)?
Yes, that is what drives fat loss.
It’s the same as your bank account. If you want to build wealth, you need to spend less money than you earn.
But that doesn’t mean ‘spend less, earn more’ is great advice to build wealth, neither is ‘eat less, move more’ to lose weight.
The challenge of fat loss is finding what energy intake (food) and energy expenditure (exercise is the only component we control) creates the energy deficit required to get results.
Some people might have a reasonable food intake, so adding exercise is the way to go.
Some people might already exercise, but need to tighten up their food intake.
Whatever the strategy is, there are always a series of trade-offs that must be made to establish the right system for an individual.
Someone who wants more flexibility with their food intake will likely need to exercise more.
Someone without time to exercise will have to be more diligent about food intake.
There are also times when adding an extra 200 kcal snack in the afternoon will allow someone to complete a 500 kcal workout, which they otherwise would not. So the food intake actually has a beneficial impact on creating the energy deficit.
Fat loss is simple, but it’s not easy.
Protein intake is also important, but only when energy expenditure is set. The composition of carbs and fats should be suited to individual preference, to facilitate adherence.
But at the end of the day, it’s energy balance that determines the outcome.