Is following a weight loss diet necessary to lose fat?

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Answered by: Roberto, An Expert in the Weight Loss 101 Category
There is nothing more daunting for those looking to lose fat than starting a weight loss diet. It’s easy to understand why considering anyone looking to follow healthier eating habits can get bombarded with information that can sometimes seem contradictory. Not to mention fads like juicing push those that truly want to put in effort towards weight loss towards a path of failure if and when they get the cravings for junk food that are bound to happen with an overly restrictive diet.

     First and foremost, weight loss can only be achieved through a caloric deficit, which simply means burning more energy than what’s eaten. This doesn’t mean that skipping a meal is necessary but simply eating 100 calories less every day is all that is needed to start seeing weight loss results and junk food is the easiest place to start. The average American eats over 80 grams of sugar a day when the recommended amount by the American Heart Association is 36 grams for men and 25 grams for women. This means that limiting sugar intake can help some lower their calorie intake by over 200 calories every day. What about those that don’t have a sweet tooth but still have issues losing weight? This is when counting calories is going to help substantially.

     Apps such as MyFitnessPal can be used to follow the amount of calories normally consumed in a day. While it is recommended to use an app to track calorie results consistently, it can also be used as a one-time benchmark to help figure out which foods can be removed without creating too high of a caloric deficit. It also demonstrates how a dieter can get the most out of what they eat. For example, 28 grams of potato chips have about as many calories as 50 grams of black beans. However, the black beans are packed with fiber and protein, two nutrients that are crucial for weight loss and a healthy life in general. This means that substituting the side of chips or fries with something like beans will not just make give a more full feeling but will also help more in fighting hunger cravings throughout the day.

     Exercise is also crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and life. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends about 150 minutes a week of moderate activity. This can be accomplished by 30 minute sessions of walking at a brisk pace 5 times a week. However, weight lifting is without a doubt the best addition to any fat loss regimen because of an effect called excess post-exercise consumption. While exercises like walking and running burn more immediate calories, weightlifting help you keep burn calories hours after the workout is finished. Not to mention that it is also beneficial with building muscle, which helps boost overall metabolism. The best workouts to choose for losing weight are those that use more than one muscle group at a time, which are known as compound exercises. The barbell squat and bench press are a good example of where to start.

     In essence, it isn't necessary to follow a new weight loss diet in order to burn fat. Making generally healthier choices, like cutting out sodas and choosing filling foods over salty snacks, are all that’s needed to go on a path for healthier living. Counting calories helps if one stagnates on their weight loss goals. Keeping the heart active through aerobic activity like brisk walking is important but a weight lifting program is the most efficient for overall weight loss. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is better to make small adjustments to diet and lifestyle for consistent results. After a while, the small changes will build up and cause more significant weight loss than following a traditional diet.

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