The New Science of Fat Loss-Internal Medicine -

It’s been said that you need to burn 3500 calories to lose a pound. Whether you’re exercising more, eating less food—or some combination of the two—just thinking about that many calories could be an intimidating experience.

And now, a new study shows that the 3500 calorie estimate might not even be accurate. For some people, it could be a good thing: The research indicates you might need a smaller calorie deficit to drop weight, while others have to burn more calories to see changes on the scale. No matter how you look at it, this new revelation did something more important than put a number on what it takes to be healthy. It revealed a secret that should change the way you view your body.

I’ve been preaching for years that there isn’t just one successful way to shed fat. While different techniques have their perceived (and scientifically supported) benefits, the real secret is trial and error. You have to find out what works best for your life, your schedule, and your preferences. Some people like eating 6 meals per day, others prefer 3. BOTH are effective at helping you lose weight. Whether you eat higher protein or fat, try fasting or carb cycling, or sneak in a cheat day every week, there are endless ways to skin the dietary cat. As long as you find a proven method—and not one based on hearsay and pseudoscience—there’s no need to fight over the best way to lose weight. The only argument is finding effective ways to do it safely and efficiently.

That’s the reason why tools like MyPlate are so successful at helping people transform their bodies and improve their overall health. Rather than preach one style of living or forcing people to eat a limited number of foods, MyPlate offers something more valuable: Awareness and education. You need to know how much you eat and what you eat in order to hold yourself accountable and make the small changes that create big results.

After all, it’s been shown that Americans overestimate how much they exercise and underestimate how much they eat. We are our own worst enemies, and yet we oftentimes blame outside forces: The restaurant industry, the government, or our peers.

Losing weight is a time consuming process. It takes effort and focus. But it does not have to be difficult or painful. I’ve seen thousands of people transform their bodies with diet changes that made day-to-day living easier and better. I’ve experienced my own transformation, and helped many others uncover theirs. Each person used different exercises, ate different foods, and had different schedules. But all of them took a personalized approach, worked hard, and stayed motivated.

My suggestion is simple: Don’t worry about the numbers. The truth is, every diet has room for flexibility. You can eat dessert, eat at night, and consume carbs. It’s more about how you moderate this process and find a plan that keeps you in line, and protects you from the real enemy: Your mind.

We think dieting is hard and losing fat is impossible. We convince ourselves that we can’t make change, so we make excuses. Next time you find yourself frustrated, wipe the slate clean and ask yourself one simple question: What do you want to achieve? Write it down, and then search as hard as you can to find what will work for your lifestyle and preferences. The fastest way to fat loss—or any healthy living goal—depends on cracking the code of convenience and sustainability. Focus on what works best for you. Once that happens, you’ll find that the hardest part of changing your habits isn’t the food or the exercise, but wondering why you ever did anything differently.
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