Most people think it’s all calories in calories out, but that’s simplistic first order thinking. You must go deeper to the root causes of weight gain if you want to understand how to lose weight. 

Let’s make this very practical.

Let’s say a person is eating 2000 calories (calories in) and because they are not gaining or losing they are burning 2000 calories as well (calories out). Under this equation of calories in vs calories out, people assume logically that if you want to lose weight or burn body fat you just have to eat less let’s say 1500 calories a day, that is 500 calories less a day which means on a weekly basis that is 3500 calories less which is roughly 1 pound of fat.

However there is a MAJOR problem with that.

The body is not willingly to always burn those calories and there has to be a very specific hormonal set up for this to actually happen. The key hormone here is insulin. If insulin is high, your body in storage mode- your body wants to store fat. If you have a caloric deficit but your insulin is high, you are left with 1500 coming in, 2000 coming out and no availability from your body to burn fat because it’s in storage mode. As a consequence to balance this deficit, your body is going to reduce its energy expenditure to 1500.  This means your Basal metabolic rate is going down and you won’t burn fat because your energy in and out is the same now, it’s 1500. 

Also there is an issue with this equation-HOW do you get more calories in and burn more calories out? How do you make the perfect hormonal set up for this to actually work? 

Before that, let me give you a simple analogy: If you want to have more money, you need to earn more and spend less. But how to earn more and spend less? What is the mechanism? What is the root cause of making more, spending less or making more and spending more? Is it your education, your job, your spending habits…you see it’s the same for losing weight. The set up has to be right.

The most important factor is insulin. Keeping your insulin in check is key to using weight. Measure your blood sugar and insulin levels, you can do this at home while fasting, after meals or 2 hours after meals to see where you’re at. Machines are different and you will get different score but for me with my machine I am below or just at 5 mmol/L fasted blood sugar. After eating or 2 hours after eaten I don’t go ever over 7.7 mmol/L. 

Also another big factor is your environment. DO you know that obesity is called a pandemic because it spread from person to person like a virus? In the New England Journal of Medicine, a study in the early 2000 showed with a detailed analysis that over a course of 32 years on 12000 people, weight gain spread from one friend to the next to a family member to the spouse (the risk increases from 40% to 57% for a person to gain weight if their close friend or family member gains weight first).

When you look at these two factors, you can see that the calories in vs calories out is not all that matters. Insulin as well as environment around you plays a big role on your weight gain. By understanding this dynamic, you can appreciate if you’re trying to lose weight the you need to find a good support group who will actually be on your side and motivate you rather than stall your progress or make the situation worse.