But that’s not the “weight loss” most people are looking for, because most people don’t actually care about “weight” loss. They care about fat loss. When most people say “I want to lose weight,” what they really mean is “I want to lose fat tissue.” Most people probably wouldn’t care about the number on the scale (their “weight”) if they had their ideal body type, and most people probably wouldn’t consider their weight-loss goals accomplished if they went Mars where their “weight” would technically be lower.

When fat loss is the goal, the one macronutrient I like to be aware of is protein. Aim for 0.6 – 0.7 grams of protein per pound* of bodyweight as a daily average. If you’re obese, then eat approximately 0.6-0.7 grams per pound of your general-target bodyweight. For example, if you weigh 210 pounds and know 160 pounds is a healthy body weight for you, then eat 0.7 grams per pound of that 160 pound target (in this example that would be about 96-112 grams of protein).

If you don’t have an established exercise routine, simply walking is the best first step toward weight loss. “Walking is a pretty good entry point for people,” says Gagliardi. This is particularly true if you have been out of the gym for a while and want to ease back into a workout routine. One small study published in The Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry found that obese women who did a walking program for 50 to 70 minutes three days per week for 12 weeks significantly slashed their visceral fat compared to a sedentary control group.