Energy balance is the difference between calorie intake (from food & drinks) and calories out – through our metabolism & energy expended during daily activities.
Any change in body weight is the result of an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure. People gain weight gradually because most days they’re in a state of positive energy balance (more calories in than body requires) and any excess is stored until the individual eventually realizes they’ve gained a few pounds.
In order to lose weight our body needs to be in a negative energy balance. Sounds simple but this doesn’t mean a negative energy balance for a few days here and there it must be a consistent, gradual process. Imagine body fat stores as thousands of little dots all over a piece of paper only one dot at a time can be erased.
Dieters count calories but the amount of weight loss won’t add up!
Weight loss confusion occurs because there’s a physiological adaptation to under eating in order to balance energy within the body and help maintain weight quickly. Even overeating causes an adaptive response so in order to gain further weight more excess energy must be consumed.
Although energy balance helped our ancestors survive in times of starvation it now causes frustration for the dieter attempting to lose weight. Some cut enough calories to lose a pound of fat but when only a small amount is lost they often believe its because they’re meant to be that way.
How energy adaptation takes place to limit the amount of weight lost
Every time we eat a certain amount of energy is used to digest and absorb all the nutrients. Most diets naturally require a reduction in food intake so, less food eaten means less energy is required to maintain weight. This process known as the “thermic effect of food” accounts for about 10% of total energy expenditure.
Eating less also means fewer nutrients available for maintenance of muscle tissue, especially protein needed for synthesis of antibodies or enzymes. These are molecules that are in constant need 24 hours a day and a constant supply of protein must be maintained, as a result there is a gradual loss of protein from muscle cells in order to maintain a healthy immune system. A net protein loss naturally reduces lean weight, which lowers the metabolism. The end result is a lowered energy expenditure rendering the present low calorie diet ineffective.
There will always be natural changes in physiology in order to constantly balance energy within the body. Changes are driven by what we eat, when we eat and how much we eat. In order to lose weight effectively a program needs to take these physiological adaptations into account. We recommend Tom’s burn the fat system!