Math 101

The other day, I had someone ask me the best way to lose weight. I told her that it is all about the math. If you eat too many calories, you are going to gain weight. If you want to lose weight, you must consume fewer calories or burn more calories. End of story.

Then someone else joined the conversation and said, “And it is also the type of calories you eat, right?” From a purely mathematical perspective, the type of calories isn’t important. If you eat 5000 calories of healthy, organic, low fat food, you will gain weight. If you eat 5000 calories of chocolate cake, you will gain weight, but the cake will also do more harm to your body than just weight gain, but the weight gain will be the same.

Don’t confuse eating healthy with eating to lose weight. The two definitely go hand in hand, but pure weight loss is all about consuming less calories. You can eat healthy and become healthier without losing any weight. But if weight loss is your goal, you must cut calories. Some people think that if they just eat healthy foods or add a fruit or vegetable, it will be enough to cause them to lose weight. However, if they are eating the same amount of calories or more,… no weight loss. They may lower their cholesterol or reverse heart damage, but no weight loss.

I know that I have written posts about adding one piece of fruit a day or one veggie a day, and this is a great way to jump start healthier eating practices which usually leads to cutting calories as well, but in the end it is all about the math. Eat fewer calories or burn more calories or both.

It took me 25 years to figure this out, but I didn’t realize how critical the math aspect was to diet and exercise until very recently. I have always had a fairly healthy diet, but now that I am acutely aware of the numbers, it takes the guess work out of a lot of menu items. It also has made me allow myself to have an “unhealthy treat” now and then. If a sweet potato and a peanut butter cookie have the same amount of calories, sometimes I choose the cookie and I don’t feel guilty.

So, click on the Calorie Need Calculator under Links to find out your where your numbers need to be. With the right math, you will be losing weight in no time.

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