Weight Loss Basics -- Calories In - Calories Out

Jul 9 07:59 2009 Ulf Wolf Print This Article

All truths are basically simple, and the Weight Loss Truth rests squarely on the First Law of Thermodynamics, long proven to hold very true indeed.

(First in a Series)

The Simple Truth

Pay close attention to the next sentence,Guest Posting for it contains the entire subject of weight loss success. Burn more calories than you consume.

End of class.

Really.

All truths are basically simple, and the Weight Loss Truth rests squarely on the First Law of Thermodynamics, long proven to hold very true indeed:

The increase in the internal energy of a system is equal to the amount of energy added by heating the system, minus the amount lost as a result of the work done by the system on its surroundings.

In plain language: You provide heat (calories) to your system (body) through food, you lose energy (calories) by work done.

If you add more heat to the system than you lose as a result of work, you increase the internal “energy” which the body stores for future use, usually as fat.

The Body

In essence, the human body is a carbon-oxygen engine that with an operating temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit runs on low combustion fuels, mainly derived from other life forms (plant and animal).

As early as 1640 René Descartes viewed the body as a machine, where the heat of the heart caused the movement of the body. And being a brilliant man, he was not so far off.

For taking a wholly unromantic view of the human body, we see that it is nothing more than a machine, composed of a very large number of cells (running into the trillions), aggregated to form a cohesive, and cooperating whole.

Basal Metabolism

This machine, as machine, needs a certain amount of fuel (food, calories) to simply turn over. We call this the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy expended while at rest in a neutrally temperate environment, in the post-absorptive state (meaning that the digestive system is inactive—for digestion itself is work, and takes a lot of energy— which requires about twelve hours of fasting in humans).

The BMR determines how many calories you burn doing absolutely nothing in an environment that is not too hot (necessitating sweating and such to cool the body down—which is work) nor too cold (calling for additional calories in an attempt to stay warm—also work).

Once the BMR is established, all that you have to do to maintain your weight is to feed this machine precisely as many calories as it needs, just to turn over. The moment you move about, however (such as picking up a remote), you will perform work, which according to the First Law of Thermodynamics requires energy. This energy, if not consumed has to come from somewhere, and this somewhere is the body’s “internal” food, such as fat, or if no fat about, muscle.

Weight Loss

Those of us who need to lose weight, usually carry the excess baggage around in the form of fat—energy stored by the body for a rainy day.

Fortunately, if we expend more calories through work than we consume in food, the metabolism assumes it’s raining now, and turns to the stored fat for the necessary energy.

The net result of this is that you will lose weight. There simply is no way around it, not in this universe—and according to its laws—anyway.

To lose weight you simply have to burn more calories than you consume.

Complexities

On paper, this is a very simple proposition. Off-paper, as experienced by every person who has tried to shed the extra pounds, it gets a little more complex. This, however—no matter how many complexities you pile on top of it—does not negate, or invalidate the basic principle:

To lose weight you simply have to burn more calories than you consume.

End of class.

Really.

The multiTRIM Diet

All diet plans—except for the outright fraudulent ones, and be warned: they abound—have as their goal for you to burn more calories than you consume.

Possibly the most sensible plan we have seen in recent years is the multiTRIM diet which supplies all needed nutrients to maintain health and ease hunger in a fifteen calories meal-replacement drink; making the First Law of Thermodynamics work for you.

A multiTRIM Journal

A woman recently set out to shed 143 pounds over 18 months with the help of the multiTRIM diet. This, the blog-record of her journey, can be found here.

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About Article Author

Ulf Wolf
Ulf Wolf

Coeur d'Alene, ID, based Ulf Wolf writes about health and weight loss for various clients.

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