Back to the Basics: Weight Loss 101
When you eat less calories than you burn, you lose weight. In other words, if your calories in are less than your calories out, you can expect to shed pounds. However, the types of foods you choose to make up your calorie budget are just as important as burning more energy than you consume. Choosing nutritionally complete meals while decreasing the calories you eat ensures you get all of the nutrients you need to stay healthy for life and maintain your weight loss.
Let’s break down the science behind weight loss. Specifically, where do calories come from, what are they used for, and where do they go if you eat too many? Calories come from the three macronutrients: carbohydrates (4 calories per gram), protein (4 calories per gram), and fat (9 calories per gram), as well as alcohol (7 calories per gram). Your body uses calories for basic functions, such as breathing, physical activity, and digestion. That’s right, eating foods actually requires calories!
When you eat more calories than you need, your body will begin to store the excess energy as fat. This is how weight gain occurs. Specifically, an excess of 3,500 calories equates to one pound of extra fat. Using this math, eating approximately 500 less calories than you need per day for seven days will lead to a one pound weight loss. This science is the basis of Healthy for Life Meals, and is the reason why our meal plans are so effective for weight loss!
So how does this translate to everyday food choices? Can you get by with eating 100 calorie snack packs and low-calorie convenience foods, as long as you stay in a calorie deficit? Technically, eating fewer calories than you need overall will lead to weight loss, but relying on foods that are void of nutrients will not lead to optimal health. Low-calorie processed foods are often loaded with harmful additives, added sodium and sugars, and simply cannot compete with real foods, such as complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Relying on these convenience foods will put you at risk for heart disease and other chronic conditions.
On the other hand, choosing naturally nutritious and low-calorie foods, such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains, poultry and fish, legumes, and nuts and seeds will help you lose weight and stay healthy! Even more, eating the optimal balance of the three macronutrients through real foods will help you stay full and avoid overeating too much of one food group.
If you want to eat lower calorie, balanced meals to help you lose weight without the time commitment of preparing them yourself, we have good news for you: we're here to help. Get started today with one of our plans, and be on your way to getting healthy for life!