There are so many different ideas and frequently asked questions about losing weight that it’s likely you’ll need to go to different sources, just to have them answered.
Unfortunately, doing so can provide many different and conflicting answers, which can be quite frustrating and confusing.
So, I decided to tackle the issue myself. In this article, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions that pertain to losing weight and body fat.
Do I Need To Eat Less To Lose Weight?
The answer to this is two-sided in that you can, but don’t have to. Weight loss comes down to burning more calories than you’re eating.
Thus, if you can exercise more, but keep food the same, you should theoretically lose weight. However, it’s important to remember that weight loss may be a bit easier and more predictable if you opt for reducing calories.
Additionally, combining diet and exercise is probably more beneficial than either alone (1).
Do I Need To Remove Carbs To Lose Weight?
The answer here is maybe. As mentioned earlier, weight loss comes down to calories. Since carbohydrates are worth 4 calories per gram, removing carbs from your diet may be an effective way to consume fewer calories.
Just keep in mind that calorie reduction can also come from other sources as well. Even though removing carbs is the most popular approach, it’s not actually a necessity for weight loss.
I’m Confused, Should I Eat More Or Less Fat To Lose Weight?
The answer depends primarily on how much of the other macronutrients, in particular carbohydrate, you’re consuming.
Fat is very calorie dense, meaning there are many calories for only a small amount. This means it’s very easy to accidentally consume too many calories. If carb intake is high as well, weight loss can become almost impossible.
If you’re consuming very low carbs, such as on a ketogenic diet, you should increase fat, but if you want to keep carbohydrate intake high, you should consider reducing your fat intake to ensure that you’re still consuming fewer calories to actually lose weight.
How Fast Can I Lose Weight?
This answer largely depends on your starting point. If you’re a bit bigger with 5-100 pounds to lose, chances are your calorie intake is very high. Begin reducing calories and add in exercise, then tremendous weight loss will likely happen rapidly.
If, however, you’re already small and consuming few calories, additional weight loss will likely be quite slow or even non-existent.
Basically, the rate of weight loss depends on how much weight you have to lose and how many calories you can reduce. If you can safely reduce calories drastically, weight loss will likely be much faster than if you have very few additional calories to remove from your diet.
What Is Energy Balance?
Energy balance is the concept of balancing the amount of calories you are consuming compared to how many calories your body is burning. Theoretically, if your energy output matches your energy intake, your weight should remain the same.
If you’re consuming more calories than you burn, you’re in what is known as a positive energy balance. This is typically how you gain weight.
If however, you’re consuming fewer calories than you’re expending, you’re in a state of negative energy balance. Essentially, creating a negative energy balance through increasing activity, reducing food intake or a combination of both is the primary objective for weight loss diets.
Will Breakfast Help Me Lose Weight?
The answer to this question is really that it depends. Most people think breakfast holds a magical property, but really, it’s just another opportunity to consume calories.
IF breakfast allows you to have better control over food intake for the rest of the day, then yes, breakfast might help you lose weight. However, if it does not help you later to eat less in the day, then it’s just another opportunity for calories, which might hamper weight loss attempts.
If you do decide to eat breakfast, I suggest making it one filled with protein, fiber and healthy fats, rather than the traditional carb-based breakfast so many of us consume.
Should I Lose Weight or Build Muscle?
The answer to this again depends on your starting point. If you’re bigger with a tremendous amount of weight to lose, you should consider losing weight first, since no amount of muscle will show under a large amount of body fat.
Essentially, it comes down to your current body composition and whether or not reducing calories further is actually a good idea.
In this case, it’s best to ask a professional for their opinion, such as the advice I offer with my 1 on 1 coaching packages. That way, you can be certain that you’re making the correct choice.
Will Becoming A Vegan or Vegetarian Help Me Lose Weight?
Plant-based diets often result in weight loss, but that’s primarily because plants have a very high volume, yet low amount of calories, in addition to high amounts of fiber. Put together, these are great combinations for weight loss.
However, it’s important to remember that much the same can be achieved, even if you’re still eating animal products and meat. Additionally, lean meat may provide extra protein, which can be advantageous for weight loss.
When people switch to a plant-based diet, weight loss probably isn’t because they removed meat, per se, but rather that they are consuming fewer calories since plants themselves have so few.
Remember that energy balance is most important. If switching to a plant-based diet allows you to do so, while keeping protein intake high, then, at that point, it really just comes down to preference.
Frequently Asked Questions: Weight Loss Edition
Keep in mind, these aren’t the only pressing weight loss questions to exist. In future articles, I’ll touch on other frequently asked questions so that you can stay informed and obtain the body you want.
Do you have questions you want answered? Comment below or sound off on Facebook and if your question is good enough, I’ll address it in the next edition!
- Miller, T., Mull, S., Aragon, A. A., Krieger, J., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2017). Resistance Training Combined With Diet Decreases Body Fat While Preserving Lean Mass Independent of Resting Metabolic Rate: A Randomized Trial. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 1-24.