Something 80% of Americans are overweight or obese. And according to a study I made up for this post, 95% of them would like to lose weight. So to start simple, here is some basic information.
Diet is probably the most important single factor in your health, body composition and overall appearance. Food determines how big you are. If you consume more calories than you expend, you will get bigger. If you consume fewer calories than you expend, you will get smaller. If you meet your maintenance needs, you will stay the same. Regardless of your metabolism, body composition, genetics, or whatever, your body must obey the laws of physics and biological imperatives. Now, your calorie needs can change over time. But in the end, The reality is calories in and calories out. Everything else is just fiddling around the edges of this basic fact!
So if calories in> calories out, you will gain weight
if calories in < calories out, you will lose weight.
Exercise plays a huge role in what these calories will become, muscle or fat. To figure out how many calories you need for your lifestyle, a good start is this basic metabolic rate calculator. Next we will learn about diet specifics.