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Weight Loss: Eat Less Or Burn More Calories To Lose Fat

Updated on May 20, 2013

What Calories Are

The simple definition of a calorie I use is that calories are potential energy. The energy you consume when you eat food is measured in calories. I say potential energy because your body can store the calories as fat. Calories are also potential fat. The body stores unused energy as fat so it can use it later. Consume more calories than you burn and you gain weight. Burn more calories than you consume and you lose weight.

Your body can convert fat and if necessary muscle into energy. Running out of energy would be very bad. So you should have extra fat or muscle so your body can convert it into energy. Healthy food contains calories and things your body needs like vitamins and minerals. Empty calories are calories from foods or drinks that don't contain the nutrients you need. Junk foods and drinks contain empty calories. Empty calories can be considered as extra calories you don't need.

Working out with a heavy backpack.
Working out with a heavy backpack. | Source

How To Burn More Calories

Increasing your body weight is one way to burn more calories. Heavy people burn more calories because it takes more energy for them to move around. You could increase your bodyweight or wear something to make you heavier. Sometimes I exercise while wearing a heavy backpack. Muscle burns more calories than fat. So another way to burn more calories throughout the day is to build more muscle. If you lost some fat weight and gained muscle weight so you weighed the same or a little less then you would burn more calories without doing more.

You can burn more calories by being more active. Spend less time sitting around and more time exercising. People get tired and their muscles get sore. Building muscle allows you to exceed your current limits so you can do more. If you want to burn more calories you should build more muscle by exercising. Increase your strength and endurance. You could more than triple the amount of calories you burn while working out or exercising.

A big sandwich.
A big sandwich. | Source
A well balanced meal.
A well balanced meal. | Source

How Many Calories

The foods people eat contain a different amount of calories. Usually you can look at a label for processed foods. If you want to know how many calories other foods have then you can look them up on the internet. There are too many different foods to just make a huge list. If you go to the trouble of counting calories then you can limit the number of calories you consume. However you would also need to figure out how many calories you burn during the day.

Counting the calories you consume and the calories you burn is one way to lose weight or gain weight. However you could just rely on common sense. You don't need to spend time counting calories to lose weight. I don't know how many calories I consume or how many calories I burn per day but I know I have less fat than I did a week ago.

If you pay attention to your body you can tell when you gain or lose fat. Using a measuring tape or a ruler is an easy way to see if you are getting thicker or leaner before there is a big change. An easy way to check for belly fat is to see how much fat you can grab. Weighing yourself will tell you if you are gaining or losing weight. You can use changes in your body to tell if you are consuming more calories than you are burning.

Eating Less

A simple way to consume fewer calories is to eat less and drink less. You can reduce the portion sizes. Using smaller plates, bowls, glasses etc. makes it easy. Water does not contain calories. So there is no point in drinking less of it. The problem with eating less is that it means you have less energy and you will most likely feel hungry. Another problem it is that you need food. I don't try to eat less food to lose weight because I don't like being hungry.

Some of my exercise equipment.
Some of my exercise equipment. | Source
Me doing side planks.
Me doing side planks. | Source
Biking is a great way to burn calories.
Biking is a great way to burn calories. | Source

Feeling Satisfied

Eating less or eating junk food can stop me from burning more calories. I exercise a lot and I noticed that what I eat and how much I eat has a major impact on my workouts. If I feel hungry or unsatisfied it makes exercising more difficult. I burn fewer calories because the lack of good quality food makes me feel like doing less.

Consuming fewer calories and burning more is a good plan to lose weight in theory. However in practice it does not work very well. The days when I did not feel satisfied after supper were the days I skipped my daily workout or did not put a lot of effort into it because I did not feel like exercising. My best workouts were on days where I had a nice satisfying meal. I ate until I was full and then exercised 2 hours later.

During a good workout I can burn over 1,400 calories. That is more calories than a lot of adults eat in a day. I can workout a lot during a week and lose fat but I can not workout a lot unless I eat a lot. Burning more calories and eating more nutritious food go together. Eating less healthy food and burning fewer calories also go together. If you want to burn more calories you may need to eat more healthy food.

Consuming fewer calories

Eating more junk food and drinking high calorie junk drinks does not help me burn more calories. So when I want to consume fewer calories I focus on eating less junk food and drinking fewer junk drinks like pop. For my diet I fill up on healthy food and drink mostly water. I also have healthy snacks. Since I use diet and exercise together I tend to consume more food while losing weight. So even if I skip the junk foods a drinks I still might be consuming more calories than I was before but avoiding the junk reduces the calories as much as possible without causing me to burn fewer calories.

If you focus too much on consuming fewer calories it can prevent you from getting the results you want. Consuming fewer calories does not guarantee you will lose weight or get rid of fat. Personally I eat more food to lose weight because I need more food when I exercise more. There are a lot of people that eat less than me but weigh much more than I do and have a lot more extra body fat. Don't forget about burning calories.


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