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It’s Simple Mathematics

Want to lose weight? Eat less and/or do more.

Want to gain weight? Eat more and/or do less.

For some reason this simple concept has gotten lost in the quagmire that is training and nutrition media. Everyone wants to focus on the minutia of eating strategies without accepting the reality that, whatever they want to accomplish, it takes nutritional effort to achieve their goals (make no mistake, eating to gain weight can be FAR more work than losing).

That’s not to say that there aren’t useful strategies to assist in gaining or losing weight. Of course there are. However, the key is to focus on the word assist. They can’t be the whole show.

Low carb diets are a great example of this. No one is arguing that they don’t work (at least I’m not…). Keeping insulin, the energy storage hormone, quiet is wonderful when you are trying to lose weight. Shifting into ketosis and, subsequently, into burning fat for energy instead of glucose, is incredible for fat burning. These two things are flashy and sound great but it’s important not to miss the big picture:

People eat less when they go on low carb diets. 

Research has confirmed many times over that people will naturally limit themselves to around 2400 calories per day while going low carb. And that’s at the high end. If they were following a traditional ketogenic diet protocol they would have to eat 186 grams of fat and 180 grams of protein to get 2400 calories.

Think this example disproves my argument because 2400 seems like a lot of calories? Who has the greatest success with low carb diets? Very fat people. If you’re a 5’6″ woman who weighs 250 pounds you didn’t get that way because of you’re eating 1300 calories but respond poorly to insulin. You may very well have  had insulin issues (and probably are diabetic now) but, in the end, you ate too damn much.

Personally, I am a fan of keeping calories as high as possible and increasing my activity to create a deficit and burn fat. I believe this helps keep muscle better than creating a deficit through eating alone. At some point, infallible though I may be, even I need to eat less to burn fat. To gain weight I still like to keep my training load fairly high and elect to simply eat more to make up for it. I will acknowledge that thanks to my metabolism I would be better served training less AND eating more but I like training.

If fat loss is your goal, most people are better served simply eating less than they currently do because, frankly, they are much too lazy to do the other option.

To sum:

Want to lose weight? Eat less and/or do more.

Want to gain weight? Eat more and/or do less.

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