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> Caloric Deficit == Weight Loss. The only thing you really need to know is that you should be eating fewer calories than your body burns everyday. If you do this, you will lose weight – it’s science. Nothing else matters for weight loss.

True but completely disingenuous. If you normally eat 3,000 calories/day, and cut it to 2,000 calories/day, you won't necessarily lose weight -- many people's metabolisms will simply slow down equivalently.

Happy for this guy that it worked, but not all of us are so lucky. Turns out there are a lot of different factors that affect our metabolism, which can be just as important (if not more).

Edit: see Gary Taubes' work on this, extremely detailed stuff on what regulates metabolism and fat storage, there's nothing simple about it -- e.g. https://www.amazon.com/Good-Calories-Bad-Controversial-Scien...




> If you normally eat 3,000 calories/day, and cut it to 2,000 calories/day, you won't necessarily lose weight

You're absolutely correct, because what you said has nothing to do with what the article said.

What the article said: If you normally put 10 gallons in your car every day, but you only burn 5, you need to put in less than 5 every day to make sure you will eventually run out (ie lose weight)

What you said: if you normally put 10 gallons in your car every day, but you only burn 5, cutting down to only 7 gallons a day doesn't mean you'll run out eventually (i.e. lose weight).

In conclusion: It doesn't matter how much you've been eating, it only matters that from now on you eat less than you're burning!


I'm not sure you're understanding.

> What the article said: If you normally put 10 gallons in your car every day, but you only burn 5, you need to put in less than 5 every day to make sure you will eventually run out (ie lose weight)

I'm saying that if you respond by putting 4 in your body, your body may respond by only burning 4 instead of burning its usual 5 -- and you don't lose weight. This is why weight loss can be so much more difficult for some people than others. (In practice, people trying to lose weight can feel a loss of mental energy, get cold easily and start wearing hoodies instead of t-shirts at the office, they no longer fidget, etc. -- there are lots of ways for your body to slow down in response to less fuel, and they don't always include weight loss.)


> your body may respond by only burning 4 instead of burning its usual 5

Absolutely. In fact your body will repsond and burn less (because you weigh less).

So what that means is this is an iterative process. Put 4 in your body and watch how much you're burning. If you're now burning less than 4, put 3 in your body. Now watch how much you're burning. If you're now burning less than 3, put 2 in your body.

It's an ongoing process of re-evaluation and adjustment, and every body is different. But they are very much the same in the one way that science limits to universe.

If you put in less energy than you use, your body can't invent that extra energy it needs to function, and therefore your body must start to consume it's energy reserves. It's not possible for anything else to happen.


Your metabolism is a little bit elastic, it is most definitely not 100% elastic, which is what you argued.

The vast majority of people will definitely lose weight if they cut a third of their intake, all else being equal.

You're arguing about a marginal effect, and arguing against the primary effect. The primary effect is that eating more than burned is what caused the weight gain, and eating less than burned will cause weight loss. That's true regardless of metabolic elasticity, but even so changes in metabolic rate account for only a small fraction of changes in intake.


>If you normally eat 3,000 calories/day, and cut it to 2,000 calories/day, you won't necessarily lose weight -- many people's metabolisms will simply slow down equivalently.

Kinda, sorta, not really. It's about eating under maintenance. What you "normally eat" is irrelevant; what matters is that you are eating less than you burn and that you're eating quality food. I have been in and around this stuff for decades and I have yet to see a person who counts calories (correctly) and eats the right stuff fail to lose weight. Typically your sort of attitude comes from those who only partially follow a diet and then complain that "nothing works" and "it must be genetic".

This is nonsense and you're doing more harm than good if you repeat this to people honestly trying to get healthy.


The issue isn't temporary weight loss. Pretty much anyone can have success with that -- it's long term maintenance.

Biggest Loser contestants were very good at short-term weight loss. But many completely destroyed their metabolisms, causing them to burn hundreds of calories less than expected. It's very hard for many of them not to gain a lot of weight back because their bodies are burning so few calories.

People need to be really careful not to crush their metabolisms when dieting, otherwise all you will do is yo-yo diet, making yourself fatter in the end.

Doing a more moderate caloric deficit with heavy weight training is probably your best path forward. It'll take some time, but you won't crush your metabolism.


No professional would recommend a crash diet for a typical person, so I'm not sure what your point is. You're right; moderate deficit is best, but I don't see anyone recommending anything else and you implied that calorie accounting in general doesn't work, which is nonsense.

Also, one big issue yo-yo dieters encounter is that, once they reach their goal, they go back to their old habits. You can eat more once you hit your goal, but you can _never_ go back to your old, unhealthy diet if you want to maintain what you accomplished.


What? He's 100% right.

You will lose weight, it's just not in the areas you want. I've followed a similar path and have slowly but surely lost weight all over (~100lbs at this point): abdomen, chest, arms, legs, face, and neck.

It really is as simple as a calorie deficit. Good nutrition mixed in with that and exercise can help to bolster results but you don't need them. The first 6 months all I did was watch calories—no exercise—and lost a good 50-60 lbs.

The thing missing for most folks isn't genetics, it's patience. If you start off big, it takes a long time to "get skinny." You lose a ton of weight early on and then as your body adapts, fat loss slows but doesn't stop. That's not disingenuous.


This is NOT TRUE. NOT TRUE AT ALL.


I don't know who to believe --- are there good, definitive references for either of you?


No matter what: if you eat below your BMR (basal metabolic rate), you WILL lose weight. The problem is that most people wildly miscalculate their BMR.

Your BMR is all the calories your body burns simply by existing. Throw a caloric deficit on top of that and you will lose weight.

Some people have ridiculously low BMR's that don't match their appetites. Some people with hormonal or thyroid issues might have a BMR of 1,000 calories. It sucks but it's true. Those people will be stuck overweight for life because it's pretty damn hard to eat under 1,000 calories for the rest of your life.

Other people have ridiculously high BMR's and really struggle to gain weight.

The key is finding your BMR through trial and error, and eating below that calorie rate or exercising yourself into a deficit.




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