Understanding how to lose weight once and for all

By: / The Fitness Truth / Comments Off on Understanding how to lose weight once and for all

What is a calorie? 

More accurately, that which we refer to as a “calorie” is a kilocalorie.  Oh, that sums it up, doesn’t it?  What in the world is a kilocalorie?!?!?  Well . . . it’s the amount of heat required to raise 1 kilogram of water one degree celcius. 


What Does That Have to Do With Food!??!!?  Bear with me.  You’ll soon understand.


Energy is actually heat production.  Whenever muscle contracts to initiate movement, heat is being generated thus calories are being burned.  If you were to measure your “temperature” right now, you’d probably be in the vicinity of 98.6 degrees.  Your body maintains heat on an ongoing basis, and since a calorie is a measure of heat production, it correlates to the amount of energy a food is capable of providing.


When the number of calories that you take in equals the number of calories that you expend in energy, you are maintaining an energy balance and your weight will not fluctuate very much.  Conventional “diet wisdom” (a contradiction in terms) dictates that if you cut back on calories, you will be at an energy deficit, thus you will lose weight.  Unfortunately, if long term weight loss is the goal, it’s not quite that simple.  The best way for me to describe the trap dieters fall into is to provide you with a real-life example of a diet experience.  I’ll use a woman in this example, but it can be a man as well.


The Weight Loss Victim


A woman goes into the weight loss center.  She’s seen the ads.  “Lose 30 pounds in 30 days.”  “Lose weight, lose inches.”  “Isn’t it time for a new you?”  She’s ready.  She apprehensively walks through the door.  Within seconds a “professional diet counselor” greets her and they sit in an attractively furnished conference area as they begin to discuss food.  After a bit of calculating, the Diet Counselor begins the presentation, “It appears as if you’re taking in 2300 calories a day.  We will cut you back to 1200, give you (which really means “sell” you) these packages of food and delicious shakes . . . and you’ll lose weight!”


A week later the woman returns to the diet center after following “the program” and the first thing they do is direct her to the scale.  She’s thrilled!  She lost five pounds!  In a week!  She buys more packaged food and a week later the scale tells her she’s dropped yet another two pounds!  A funny thing happens in the fifth week.  She gets on the scale, just as she has every week prior, but on this day the scale is no longer her friend.  She’s stalled!  She weighs the same thing she weighed the week before!  She begins to panic, but the diet counselor’s ready.  “Don’t worry, you just hit (here’s the word they always use) . . . the Plateau!  We’ll just cut you back to 900 calories.  It just means smaller packages of food and smaller shakes.”


Sure enough, the woman begins to lose weight again.  The only problem is, this time the weight loss is accompanied by this little voice inside her head that says things . . . like . . . “cheesecake.”  “Ice cream.”  She’s getting cravings and she begins to question her own willpower.  After a few days of fighting those little voices, she gets back on the scale and realizes she has hit the second plateau.  Her disappointment leads to submission.  She gives in to the voices, and while at first she intends to have just a few spoonfuls of ice cream, she finds herself caught up in an all out binge!  All the weight comes back!  Here’s the worst part.  She questions her own willpower.  She blames herself!


The Fitness Truth Regarding Calorie Deprivation


The voices in her head had nothing to do with willpower.  They were in fact the ganging up of these little chemical messengers in her brain (neurotransmitters) with little enzymes trying to drive her to that which she needs to survive.  Food!  Her body, in its attempts to protect her from starvation, doesn’t understand she’s dieting to lose weight.  It is trying to save her life, thus, those built in protective mechanisms drive her the nutrient she can survive off of the longest . . . namely fat . . . and that substance that will provide the quickest energy . . . sugar.  Once she gives in to the cravings, her blood sugar skyrockets, her pancreas begins kicking out massive levels of insulin, and her body hormonally shifts into the “binge” state.  The binge was not only inevitable, it was CAUSED BY THE DIET!


There’s something else the diet counselor didn’t tell her.  When she was losing weight she was losing three things.  Firstly, she was losing water weight.  That is meaningless in the quest for long term weight reduction, but a great trick for the diet centers.  They can put you on the scale after only a week and lead you to believe the diet’s “working.”  Secondly she’s losing a little bit of fat, but thirdly, and most significantly, she’s losing muscle tissue!  The diet is leading to her body cannibalizing her own muscle tissue.  Muscle is metabolically active tissue.  Fat isn’t.  That means muscle burns calories and fat doesn’t.  When you sacrifice muscle, you in turn slow your metabolism!  Muscle is also the site on your body where fat is burned.  Starvation induced muscle loss reduced the body’s momentary fat burning ability.  The end result of a program based upon calorie deprivation is a slower metabolism, an unsupportive shift in hormonally induced appetite, a reduction in fat burning capacity, and an inevitable accumulation of fat.  When you embark upon a diet, you are literally programming your body to get really good at accumulating fat in the future!




So, why have you lost weight on many diets, and then gained it back?  Quite frankly, because that’s what diets do!  How can you spot a “good” diet?  Well, if it has the word “diet,” and that signifies “deprivation,” it will not serve you in a positive way.  A “good nutrition program” is one that stimulates metabolism, provides all the nutrients needed for survival, energy, tissue regeneration, and health, and focuses more on what you “should” eat rather than what you shouldn’t.


Below you’ll find links that will give you information about the latest, most popular, or most controversial weight loss “programs” as well as some vital tips on doing this right.  

He’s been called The Father of Personal Training, The Master of Body Transformation and America’s Most In-Demand Fitness Professional. But what truly defines Phil Kaplan is his undying defense of the Fitness Truth, unwavering support of Personal Trainers, and undeniable passion for helping people improve their lives.

Copyright 2024 All RIghts Reserved • Phil Kaplan