• Sarah

Understanding calories and weight loss

Updated: Aug 4

Losing weight is actually a very simple concept. It’s difficult to achieve for a variety of reasons but the science behind it is simple nevertheless.

If calories out exceed calories in, you will lose fat.

If calories in exceed calories out, you will gain fat


So what makes weight loss so difficult?

Firstly, weight loss and fat loss are two different things. Weight loss (or gain) can occur because of a number of factors. Whilst fat loss is simply the reduction of body fat.

Because of this, it’s important to use not only scale weight to measure your progress. Other factors such as body fat %, how your clothes feel, body measurements and how YOU FEEL should also be factored in.

There are several reasons why scale weight can increase. The most common are:

You ate more salt than usual

You ate late at night (if you weigh in the morning, the food will still be inside you)

You ate more carbs than usual

You need the toilet! (Yes you can weigh less afterwards!)

You are stressed

You trained hard yesterday

You weighed in earlier than usual (Food still there from yesterday!)

Menstrual Cycle

The body responds to these factors generally by holding onto water, thus increasing scale weight. YOU DID NOT put on 3lbs of fat overnight!

The problem here is that so many people are dictated by scale weight alone. Therefore as soon as they “plateau” or gain scale weight, they think the whole process isn’t working and throw in the towel! This is the worst thing you can do!

Trust the process. Yes, it’s hard, yes it takes time but that time will pass anyway so you may as well chase your goals!

Mind over Matter

Aside from scale weight, being in a calorie deficit (more calories out than in) is tough! If it were easy, everyone would be walking around at their ideal body weight!

It’s a mental battle as well as a physical one. The more you think about the foods you ‘can’t have’, the more you want them right?!

So the solution here is to find something that works for YOU. Just because Barbara at number 45 is into the latest juice diet and is losing weight, doesn't mean its right! If you enjoy flexible dieting then do it. If you enjoy keto, then do it. If you enjoy intermittent fasting then do it!

Here’s the only thing you need to know about all of these ‘diets’...they put you into a calorie deficit!

That’s why you are losing weight. Not because it’s some magical way to eat. Not because you are only eating ‘clean food’ or because you don’t eat after 8pm but because the WAY you are eating puts you into a caloric deficit.


So where does exercise come into it all? If you are burning more calories by moving your body more (walking, running, weight training, swimming...whatever) then your calories out component is greater. This means you can either have more calories from food OR achieve a greater weight loss. This is why a combination of both diet and exercise is optimal for weight loss.

E.G. In order to lose 1lb of fat per week we need to be in a calorie deficit of around 3500 calories per week (or 500 per day) You could burn off 250 extra calories through exercising and eat 250 calories less per day and bobs your uncle!

So remember, weight loss takes time, weight loss is hard work but the concept is simple and once you understand that, its much easier. You can do it!

Oh and please stay away from anyone who is promoting juice cleanses, detoxes or waist trainers...your kidneys and liver detox your body! Your waist will get smaller from a calorie deficit and juice diets simply put you on a ridiculously low amount of calories (calorie deficit) and usually contain laxatives...NOT what you want!

The only things you need to lose weight

A calorie deficit




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