Photo credit: Shore School, Sydney Australia.

How to lose weight? Part IV- What’s the magic pill to lose weight?

The breakfast I ate the day before my New Zealand Ironman race in 2018. A full breakfast with fruits, proteins and carbs.

Key takeaways:

  • The only way to lose weight is to eat less and exercise more;
  • Eat less quantity does not equal to eat less energy;
  • Eat the foods that keep you ‘full’ for longer;
  • Eat healthy so get healthy;
  • No matter what you eat, you still need to move more to lose weight.

The secret to lose weight is to ‘eat less and exercise more’. This is the only scientifically proven truth about weight loss and nothing else. No magic pills, no tricks.

Disappointed? Don’t be. It’s a lot easier than you think to lose weight by ‘eat less and exercise more’. Let’s start with some scientific experiments done in the past.

I missed Wendy’s Burger! Finally got a chance to have one on my last trip to the U.S. Its burger patty is not round but square; always like that. Have you noticed that?

If you only eat McDonald’s for 90 days, then do you think you are going to gain weight? Given all the negative news about fast foods, Morgan Spurlock did exactly that experiment on him self in 2004 and documented the whole process in a documentary. After 90 days, he lost 17 kgs!

For low or no-carb diet fans, one guy, Chris Voigt ate only potatoes for 60 days back in 2010. Yes, he took only carbs. On average, Voigt ate about 20 potatoes cooked in various ways per day during that period. 60 days later, Voigt lost 9.6 kgs!

A nutrition professor, Dr. Mark Haub at Kansas State University in the US ate only those foods we can buy from convenient stores for 10 weeks. No healthy, right? At the end of 10 weeks, he lost 12 kgs!

The only common thing about the three experiments was that they all limited the ‘energy intake’ to their planned diets. By limiting energy intake per day, it actually doesn’t matter what you eat, how you eat, or at what time; at the end, you will lose weight! The above ‘human experiments’ may sound crazy but they proved the most important point of in the science of weight loss: if you eat less, then you will lose weight automatically.

A well-balanced meal with a piece of meat, some vegetables and a bit carb.

So, the secret of weight loss is simply to eat less, ‘energy-wise’. If you can manage to move a bit more, say walking a bit more steps per day, then you will lose weight. No costs, no magic pills, and no limits on what you eat (yes, you heard me!). If you plan to eat three cheeseburgers with a total energy less than 10,000 KJ per day with a moderate active life style, then you are guaranteed to lose weight after that! You can even replace that cheeseburgers with doughnuts and you will still lose weight, but I don’t think it’s that comfortable to live with a 10-doughnut diet for long. Get the point?

There are many weight-loss programmes in the market (such as Weight Waters), and they all cost you money; it’s a huge industry! In fact, you don’t need to join those weight-loss programmes in order to lose weight. The only secret why those people joining weight-loss programmes could lose weight is that they eat a planned diet with limited energy intake. By strictly following this diet plan, anyone can lose weight; no magic at all! The only difference between do-it-yourself and joining a programme is that you may succeed more easily by following ‘instructions’ of a weight-loss programme! Yes, that’s true for most people.

A ‘weight-watcher’ meal I found on its web site. See the point? A piece of meat, some vegetables and a bit carb. Nothing special at all. It’s all about how much kJ you eat! (photo credit)

Those people who have tried losing weight must know why they failed. For most cases, they felt hungry, couldn’t persist and then they gave in to foods; eventually, they gave up. Don’t blame yourself; this is human nature.

‘Eat less’ means eat less ‘energy’. So you need to eat smartly. Different foods may provide the same energy but your stomach may ‘feel’ differently. A regular cup of cappuccino with full cream milk has similar energy as a regular coke you buy from McDonalds. However, I’m pretty sure you stomach will feel differently when you consume them. Although you have the same amount of energy, you will feel hungry quickly after the cup of coke because of the sugar in it. If you eat a whole bunch of salad till you are so full and sick of it, then your energy intake is still less than a cup of coke! One thing I’m pretty sure is that you will feel ‘full’ for the whole afternoon after such a super salad lunch. The fibre you take through foods keeps you feeling ‘full for longer’. So, choose your foods and energy wisely in your diet. Consult your dietitian for a suitable diet plan for your situation.

My typical packed lunch at work; one piece of meat, some stir-fry veg and some rice. If not enough, I could eat fruits or leave them to afternoon tea time. Exactly like the one from Weight Watchers (not as fancy, though). Get the point?

By controlling what you eat and how much energy you eat, you can easily lose weight. Many of my coaching clients lost weight by simply following this rule. If you could just add a bit of physical exercises such as walking a bit more, then losing weight is so easy. You just need to be ‘gritty’ to stick to your diet plan and know what and how much you eat each day. You can download some APPs to help you track your energy intake or keep a diary on the foods you eat each day.

So, what you eat doesn’t matter. What matters to lose weight is how much (energy) you eat. Eat less and exercise more; this is still the only scientifically proved recipe for weight loss. Nothing else, really.

Dr. C. Richard Wu @ REEAConsulting.com

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