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How to Lose Weight - Questions About Energy - Fat Loss and Metabolic Rate

How to Lose Weight

Diet and Weight Loss Information - Lose Weight Fast - What is the Best Weight Loss Diet?

Weight Loss Explained

Our body needs energy
Our body needs energy for two reasons: (1) To tick over, and (2) To support any additional activity.

Tick over
Every second of our life, our body is constantly active. For example, it takes in and transports oxygen to every cell, muscle, tissue and organ. It builds, re-builds, maintains, repairs and cleans itself. It counters infection. It maintains a constant safe temperature and regulates millions of chemical reactions. So even when we sleep or do nothing, the body is actively ticking over. About 70 per cent of our energy is used in this tick over process. For more details, see Metabolism

Additional activity
The moment we get up or start moving around, we need extra energy. The more active we are and the more exercise we take, the more energy we need. On average, about 30 per cent of our energy is used up on this additional activity.

Where do we get energy from?
Our body has two sources of available energy: (a) Energy we take in from food, and (b) Stored energy.

Source No 1. Energy from food
Our body converts food into energy. This food-energy is measured in calories.

Source No 2. Stored energy
To put it very simply, when we eat more food than we need, the body stores the excess energy as fat. Women tend to store this fat on their hips and thighs; men store it around their middle.

In order to lose weight we must take in fewer calories than our body needs.
In other words, if you are overweight, it is because your calorie intake is greater than your energy requirement. Your only remedy? Eat fewer calories.

If we need 1500 calories a day to tick over and 200 calories for additional activities, then our total energy requirement is 1700 calories. Therefore, if we take in 1600 calories from food, our body will take 100 calories worth of energy from our fat stores, and we will lose weight.

Problem No 1. Our body doesn't like to lose weight
Our body is not interested in being slim. It is interested only in survival. So if our food intake is insufficient, it starts to slow down in order to conserve energy and boost it's chances of survival. This is why weight loss tends to slow down as we continue to diet.

Don't just rely on eating less calories. In addition, start exercising. Why? Because exercise raises your energy requirement. This pressurizes your body into using up your fat stores thus speeding up weight loss.

Problem No 2. Not all weight lost is fat
When we first start to lose weight, most of the weight lost is fluid, not fat. Hence our initial weight loss can be quite rapid. Also, stored fat requires less energy to maintain than (say) muscle. So as our body tries to conserve energy, it prefers to retain fat (which costs less energy) rather than muscle (which costs more). This process is not yet fully understood, but it's clear that dieting by itself does not guarantee that all weight lost will be fat.

The best way to increase your chance of losing fat, is to eat fewer calories AND take regular exercise. Exercise does not have to be intense or vigorous, but it must be regular and should amount to at least 20-30 minutes, per day.

For more details
See Metabolism - Calorie Guidelines


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