Human energy balance

Human energy balance

Exercise alone has a modest contribution to weight loss. But when you alter one component, cutting the number of calories you eat in a day to lose weight, doing more exercise than usual, this sets off a cascade of changes in the body that affect how many calories you use up and, in turn, your bodyweight.

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Calories burned every day

The calories we burn every day include not only movement but all the energy needed to run the thousands of functions that keep us alive. 

Exercise and health

Exercise is like a wonder drug for many health outcomes: reducing blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes of heart diseases and slows developing cognitive impairment from Alzheimer's and dementia. 

But as for losing weight, it helps more in weight maintenance than in losing the actual weight.

Exercise and calories burn

Exercise accounts for a small portion of daily calorie burn.

Even when you work out, those extra calories burned only account for a tiny part of your total energy expenditure, only around 10 to 30 percent, depending on the person. It's not nearly equal to food intake.

Exercise can undermine weight loss
  • How much we move is connected to how much we eat. And exercise, of course, has a way of making us hungry — so hungry that we might consume more calories than we burned off.
  • Some people simply slow down after a workout, using less energy on their non-gym activities, because they're tired.
How to actually lose weight

People who have had success losing weight have a few things in common: 

  • They weigh themselves at least once a week. 
  • They restrict their calorie intake, stay away from high-fat foods, and watch their portion sizes. 
  • They also exercise regularly. But note: They use physical activity in addition to calorie counting and other behavioral changes.

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Metabolism

It refers to the thousands of chemical reactions that turn what we eat and drink into fuel in every cell of the body. These reactions change in response to our environments and behaviors, and in ways we have little control over. 

Metabolism is not a single thing that can be calibrated with “metabolism boosters” like chili peppers or coffee, or by following special diets.

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Intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is a process that enables you to lose weight by mixing a low-calorie diet with unrestricted eating throughout the week. The issue is that many individuals tend to disobey this diet without even wanting it.

Intermittent fasting is a way of losing weight that favours flexibility over calorie counting. It restricts the time you are allowed to eat, which reduces calorie intake by limiting opportunities to eat.

Your metabolism

It is in every cell in your body. It refers to a series of chemical processes in each cell that turn the calories you eat into fuel to keep you alive.

The body's major organs — the brain, liver, kidneys, and heart — account for about half of the energy burned at rest, while fat, the digestive system, and especially the body's muscles account for the rest.

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