Lesson 8: Understanding Energy Balance and Successful Weight Loss

Understanding the concept of energy balance in our bodies is key to understanding the success of your nutritional program.  In this lesson, we will cover the basics of this strategy.

It’s all about Balance. 


Simply put, energy status in our bodies is the relationship between energy (caloric) intake and expenditure. 

The balance of intake and expenditure is crucial to our weight loss goals:

  • If energy intake is greater than expenditure, weight is gained
  • If energy intake is less than expenditure, weight is lost
  • If energy intake and expenditure are equal, weight is maintained

This concept is the most important factor in determining if your weight loss goals are being met. It is an essential part of charting our progress with our nutritional and fitness goals. 

Negative Energy Balance

The common characteristic of a successful weight loss program is a negative energy balance.  An organism, such as we humans, establishes a negative energy balance when energy flow out of the body exceeds energy flow into the body.  This is most often seen as a decrease in body weight.

Whether it be a Paleo diet, the Atkins diet, a gluten-free diet, or a high carb diet, negative energy balance is important.  The same is true for any high-volume endurance exercise program or a high-volume strength training program. So whether you are looking to eat healthier or you are wanting to increase strength and endurance, negative energy balance is a must.

If you want to lose weight, you must employ methods to establish a negative energy balance.  On the other hand, if you are needing to gain weight, a positive energy balance is required.  Following any nutritional plan will typically lead to calorie control.  Calorie control is also the result of increasing exercise volume.  And restricting intake of any micronutrient can also lead to calorie control.  All of these concepts are important to understand.

Tomorrow we will wrap this lesson up with a summary of some practical steps to take to establish energy balance.

Stay tuned!


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