While weight loss is a common goal, weight gain is usually frowned on. Losing weight proves often to be challenging, while gaining weight may seem like something that may just “happen.” Losing weight is often beneficial for health and well-being, whereas weight gain tends to be harmful.
Despite the obvious differences between weight gain and weight loss, there is one significant difference you ought to keep in mind if you are concerned about your weight.
In a practical context, the major difference has to do with the calories consumed. A caloric surplus or deficit is what drives weight gain or weight loss. Even though this is a clear fact and no surprise to many people, it is common to lose sight of the basics and believe there are other more important factors determining body weight.
A good example is in regards to exercise. Given the rise in popularity of fitness, many adults have learned to associate weight gain and weight loss with exercise, or lack thereof. In other words, if someone is losing weight, he must be exercising. If someone wants to lose weight, he must exercise regularly. Conversely, if someone is gaining weight, then exercise must be the solution.
Be careful not to confuse the idea you “must” do something when it is more likely it is something you “should” be doing. Moreover, the point here is not enough attention is given to tracking calories and eating adequate portions.
Exercise is without a doubt a critical factor influencing your ability to lose weight or deter weight gain. But no amount of physical activity can compensate for poor eating. For this reason, how and what you eat will always be the primary factor determining your weight.
Ask yourself why you are concerned about your weight. Why do you believe you have some pounds to lose? Why should you avoid gaining any more weight? If your doctor has given you advice, then you know some of the reasons why. You likely have your motivations as well, so it is helpful to reflect and determine why you are leaning towards a particular goal.
If you decide to lose weight, by all means, you should exercise and clean up your diet: your food choices. But know you will not make progress if you are not moderately hungry for part of the day. If you are not tracking your calories, this is the best way to know you are heading in the right direction.
You do not have to know everything about calories, but it pays to understand how weight loss works. The best way to learn is to practice. The bonus is you will be able to make some progress along the way.