The Science of Losing Weight

Losing weight is hard. That is something that everyone who has tried to lose weight knows all to well. You would think it’s fairly straightforward, but without all of the facts, it’s easy to stumble. That, coupled with the countless fad diets and trendy workout programs which promote short term progress and the expense of long term sustainability, means that many who try and succeed at first, end up gaining the weight back. That’s why when you set out on your weight loss journey, you should be sure to know as much as you can, so you can plan accordingly, seek help where you need it, and be prepared to lose any excess weight in a stable, sustainable, and healthy way. So, let’s find out how your body responds to weight loss, how your body uses energy from food, and maybe address some common misconceptions along the way.

How Your Body Uses Energy

While short and to the point, it’s important to know these first, because it will help you understand why you may need to make some adjustments. In short, your body uses energy in more ways than you’d think.

  • When you’re active, your muscles need to use energy. That can be while you’re tidying up, or walking around your block, or even if you’re running a marathon!
  • When you’re resting, your heart needs energy to pump, your lungs to breathe (this will come up again later!), and your brain to think.
  • When you’re eating. This one almost sounds unfair, but it’s true! Your body needs energy to digest, so it can break down food and store energy!

Losing Water Weight

Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight has heard a few popular, and sometimes misleading phrases. Some are by people in the gym “Muscle weighs more than fat”, which is true in terms of density, but really, at the end of the day, a pound weighs a pound. Body fat simply takes up more space. The other one we hear when we make quick progress is “You’re losing water weight”, which is true for everybody. Humans lose between 1.5 to 4.5 pounds of water each day, and usually replace it. This is a part of our day to day lives, but as long as we stay hydrated, this number is generally stable. Body fat on the other hand, is altogether different…

Burning Fat

Our body weight is a mostly a result of our eating habits. If you find your weight is roughly staying the same on a week-to-week basis, it means you generally consume and burn a similar number of calories each day. Trimming down our body fat, while frustrating at times, follows a simple formula. In order to burn one pound of fat, our body needs to have a caloric deficit of 3,500 calories. This is on a long-term basis, not a daily one, as that would be extremely unhealthy. In order to lose 1 pound of fat in a week, a person would need to have consumed 500 less calories than they would on a given day. Interestingly, the way fat cells leave our bodies is via our breathing (told you this would come up again!) When our bodies are in a caloric deficit, they use fat cells to create energy. When we breathe in, our lungs take in oxygen, and in turn exhale carbon dioxide during the gas exchange, and some goes out with it! So, take a deep breath, because there is still some work to do.

While some diets strictly impose CICO tracking (Calories In, Calories Out), this can be frustrating and difficult to keep up with. Olivera Weight Loss patients benefit from access to our counseling and meal plans, which help organize this part of it for you.

Weight Loss isn’t Magic. It’s Medical Science

There are many myths surrounding weight loss. These range from the belief that only radical and obsessive exercise regimens can lead to weight loss (Not true. Small, realistic changes that can be sustained over a long time is a proven and more effective method), to the blanket statements that carbohydrates are bad and make people put on weight, when in reality, eaten in moderation and on their own (without adding excessive fat or sugars) will not lead to weight gain.

At Olivera Weight Loss, we have over 40 years of experience in leveraging medical science to help our patients lose weight in healthy and sustainable ways. With qualified medical professionals to guide you on your path, you’ll feel safe in knowing that your road to a healthier you is based on science, and not myths. And with our established patients having the option to continue their care with our Telehealth service, receiving the support, encouragement, and continuing education they need, we make it easier than ever to follow your plan!