And what fat loss comes down to is simply a caloric deficit. Which means either burning more calories, eating less calories, or a combination of the two. And when you get down to it, it’s just a whole lot easier for most people to eat (for example) 500 less calories per day than it will be for them to try to burn those same 500 calories every single day. That’s why diet alone gets the job done just fine, and diet and exercise combined gets the job done too. But exercise alone? That’s the least effective of the group by far.
Many diets, including Atkins and the keto diet, fit into this umbrella. A typical low-carb diet limits carbs to less than 60 g daily, but this can vary, according to the Mayo Clinic. (15) In a September 2015 review published in PLoS One, people following low-carb diets saw modest weight loss — although study authors note that long-term effects of the diet require further research. (16)
Many people have a "been there, done that" attitude when it comes to Weight Watchers. They have tried it, may have had some success, may have even gone back a couple of times, but end up feeling that it can't help them any longer. The group leaders at the meetings are not trained experts; they are former members who have had success with Weight Watchers. When someone is not having success the options for what to do can be greatly limited by the lack of experience and knowledge of the leader. There is a strong emphasis on weighing in each week. Many people have a difficult time attending a meeting when they are not having success. However, most people will not lose weight every single week, so expecting to do so is a recipe for failure. The time when people need the support the most is when they are not losing, but most meetings are not set to address this.
Say cheese! Adding some extra calcium and vitamin D to your diet could be the best way to get the flat stomach you’ve been dreaming about. Over just 12 months, researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville found that obese female study subjects who upped their calcium intake shed 11 pounds of body fat without other major dietary modifications. To keep your calcium choices healthy, try mixing it up between dairy sources, calcium-rich leafy greens, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
In this study, eating more protein helped overweight men preserve more lean mass when they lost weight. The men were put on a diet that gave them either 15% or 25% of energy from protein. But here’s a huge difference that you won’t see in the abstract: the low-protein group was vegetarian; the high-protein group got meat. (The study authors never explain why on earth they would do it like that).
The Pritikin diet is a very low-fat, high-carbohydrate eating plan. The focus is to eat vegetables, fruits, and high-fiber grains. Fats should not exceed 10% of total daily calories. Nathan Pritikin's diet is based on the theory of eating low-fat, low-calorie, plant-based foods to promote weight loss and improve or prevent heart disease. The revised Pritikin diet includes a "Calorie Density Solution:" Consume low-calorie dense foods (for example, apples, brown rice) until full, six to seven times daily. Eating low-calorie foods throughout the day will reduce hunger and cause weight loss.
Similar to the CICO diet, the Body Reset has gained popularity via social media, and there isn’t any definitive research that suggests the approach is safe and effective. Celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak created the plan, which is essentially a three-phase liquid diet comprised of smoothies and moderate exercise. While U.S. News notes you may lose weight on the diet, it may be tough to stick with, and isn’t safe for people with diabetes and heart disease. (38)
That’s because strength training helps you build muscle, which will replace body fat. In fact, strength training is one of the few activities you can do to spike the amount of calories you burn, even after you’re done with your workout. Bonus: When your metabolic rate becomes faster due to muscle growth, you’ll have a little more wiggle room in your diet if that’s something you struggle with, says Dr. Cheskin.
Sometimes, to whip your body into shape, you have to get a little nutty. While nuts are high in fat, it’s that very fat that makes them such powerful weapons in the war against a ballooning belly. In fact, a study published in Diabetes Care revealed that study participants who consumed a diet rich in monounsaturated fats, like those in nuts, over a 28-day period gained less belly fat than their saturated fat-consuming counterparts while improving their insulin sensitivity.

So best stock up on protein-enriched products then? ‘Supplements should only be used if you can’t meet your targets through a healthy, balanced diet alone,’ Vine says. ‘The more nutritious sources of energy you feed your body with, the more it will want to use them – meaning your training will improve, you’ll burn more calories and build more muscle, and you’ll lose more body fat.’
Athletic performance on a keto diet remains a controversial subject with conflicting data. Issues of adaptation time, type of exercise, differences of training and racing diets, and baseline fitness all play a role in measuring response, and thus the level of evidence is weak. But there are anecdotal reports and case series documenting increased performance for endurance athletics.
This study divided 54 obese patients up into 2 groups, both of which were put on lower calorie diets (meaning a caloric deficit was present) and fed similar percentages of protein, fat and carbs. HOWEVER, one group was given a more balanced diet comprised of meals that contained protein, fat and carbs, while the second group had their carb and fat calories separated so they were not eaten together in the same meal. Guess what happened? They all lost the same amount of weight and body fat. Why? Because the manner in which you combine foods, organize your meals and consume your daily calories isn’t what causes fat loss. A caloric deficit is.
I am still making “strength” gains (maybe not specifically muscle, more on that later), but feel I am losing some LBM – not the end of the world I suppose. BUT, based on my current weight loss, it seems I am still about four months (give or take) away from hitting my “desired” bulking starting point of somewhere around14%. I was going to shoot even lower, but I think another five months of deficit will just be too much, given the type of training I do (squats, presses, deadlifts, etc.) and that I might start to suffer being in a deficit for so long (joints, maybe stalls in progress, who knows). So, I guess my main question is, if you were me, what would you do? Increase the deficit at the expense of muscle now, or keep on with my current deficit and drag this out at my current pace?
That’s because it theoretically causes a mild ketosis (yep, the basis of the keto diet), which is a fat-burning state that should make you feel less hungry. The key in being successful with a low-carb diet (especially if you’re used to a more high-carb lifestyle) is to compensate for those lost carbs with protein-rich foods, says Dr. Cheskin. That way, your volume of food stays the same, but you’re doing it healthfully rather than in a way that exacerbates your weight gain.

We're so used to super-sizing when we eat out that it's easy to carry that mind-set home. To right-size your diet, use a kitchen scale and measuring cups to measure your meals for a week or two. Use smaller plates and glasses to downsize your portions. Split restaurant servings in half -- making two meals out of one big one. Portion out snack servings instead of eating them directly from the container.

Lindsay suggests monitoring your food intake using a calorie counting app. ‘Add up what macros you’re currently eating,’ she says. ‘It’s much easier if you’re consistent – ie eating the same thing every day. It may be dull but remember, it’s only for a short period of time while you work out why you aren’t losing fat. Having this base will make adjusting your diet easier. Aim for a balance of lean meat, fish, complex carbs and lots of veg. And avoid eating too much fruit and juices, which are high in sugar.’


If your goal is to get leaner and not lose muscle in the process, then I’d recommend sticking to slow consistent fat loss and not try to rush it (that will just impact strength even more, which increases the potential for muscle loss). Keep doing what you’re doing, and take 1-2 week diet breaks when needed (go back up to maintenance or possibly a very slight surplus).


Con: Results can vary depending on how much fluid you drink. By drinking more water, you dilute the concentration of ketones in the urine and thus a lower level of ketones will be detected on the strips. The strips don’t show a precise ketone level. Finally, and most importantly, as you become increasingly keto-adapted and your body reabsorbs ketones from the urine, urine strips may become unreliable, even if you’re in ketosis.
Wonderful! I hate cardio. I have created a caloric deficit of about 500 calories, so I think I’m just going to do about 30 min of cardio on the days I don’t weight train. I think being at the gym once a day (5 or 6 days a week) helps my motivation. I have a treadmill at home but I don’t feel the same on it as I do in the gym surrounded by other fitness minded people. Looking forward to the cardio articles! BTW, an article on correct form for some basic exercises would be great for us beginners as well!
Will your body tell you when its exhausted of your caloric deficit? I have lost fat at the rate I am happy with, but recently I started to feel faint, dizzy, and experienced headaches while working out. Each set I completed I am winded, and feel that I will faint at any second. I still want to lose fat but I feel that if I maintain a 20% caloric deficit I will surely start fainting.
I am 62, female, icky 217 pounds, 5 foot 6, on 130 mcg of levothyroxine for hypothyroid, and no other health issues. I have weighed between 117 and 125 all of my life until 10 years ago when the hypo began and was not recognized by me. I gained all of the weight as my thyroid slowed down. My doctor said I was close to a heart attack from metabolism slow-down. Wondered what was up! I run an internet business from a chair (ugh) but have always been someone who was physical. I play tennis several times a week for several hours each time. I do strength training every other day and have strong arms and legs. I walk and jog. I have been doing P90X three times a week for several months – alternating with strength training. I also stretch, do yoga. My heart is in excellent condition, per the doctor. And you can see muscles when I flex my arms. 🙂 But — aggggg — I now have a belly and want it gone, gone, gone.

Growing up, Brady Golden had always been a big kid—"chubby," as he puts it. Weight gain happened steadily for most of his life: By the fourth grade, he weighed 180 pounds, and by high school, he was tipping the scale at 350. "I just ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and I barely moved at all. The most active thing I did was marching band," he says.


The main advantage of the low-carb diet is that it causes you to want to eat less. Even without counting calories most overweight people eat far fewer calories on low carb. Sugar and starch may increase your hunger, while avoiding them may decrease your appetite to an adequate level. If your body wants to have an appropriate number of calories you don’t need to bother counting them. Thus: Calories count, but you don’t need to count them.
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