There is a quote, I’m sure some of you have seen it: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”  This quote is tremendously applicable to diet and weight loss.

Calories-out has to be greater than calories-in to lose weight.  That is the way things are, and if you want to lose weight you need to adhere to that principle.

Diet hacks, weight-loss tips, diet-pointers, etc. will help you to do that.  Make no mistake, though: if you don’t know how many calories per day your body burns, or how many calories per day you are taking in, you will not be able to lose weight effectively.  These tips and tricks are giving you a fish.  They are not teaching you to fish.

A lot of blogs and websites offering weight-loss tips seem to overlook this, or fail to add a disclaimer to their post: “by the way, even if you do all 5 (or 10, or 18, whatever click bait number that article chose) of these tips – if you’re not in a deficit they are completely meaningless.

It doesn’t matter how many “hacks” you’re using, or how many fast-pointers you read: if you do not eat in a caloric deficit, you will not lose weight.  It’s baffling to me how people can make posts like that without the caveat “by the way: stay in deficit.”  They are hurting their reader base and complicating the process.

Diets which espouse a certain method for losing weight, for example:

  • Eat high-fat and high-protein (keto)
  • Vegan diet (fruits/veggies)
  • The “zone” diet (low-glycemic load)
  • Intermittent fasting

All of these diets are doing the same thing: they are creating an environment where you are lowering the amount of calories you consume, often by excluding a food group or making calorie control easier.  They say “you don’t need to count calories,” and anecdotally people will claim “I didn’t count calories and I lost weight.”  It’s all true, but only because you are consuming less than you’re expending.

Diet programs which tell you that you don’t need to do what you NEED to do are disguising their lack of faith in their audience.  They are giving you a fish and not trusting you with learning how to fish.  You’re letting them.

Would you rather be spoon-fed your future, or would you rather KNOW exactly why you’re losing?  Would you rather live ignorant of your weight-loss and be a drone to a program that works for reasons you can’t actually explain, or learn how your nutrition affects your mood, weight and progress?

Learning about proper macronutrients, and why your body functions as it does, can make it so that you don’t have to count calories.  You’ll know, generally, that what you’re eating is conducive to weight-loss.  You can’t just skip to that step, though.  It takes investment in yourself and in your knowledge.

Much like how you can’t read a book of punches and kicks and expect to be a martial artist, you can’t just read a diet program and be a weight-loss expert.  Our egos would love that, but that ain’t the way the world works, friend.

Learn, grow and do.

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