Right at the perfect time, when thousands of people are working on their New Year's resolutions to lose weight, we have uncovered the best kept secret to help you shed the pounds.

Supplement merchants, weight-loss clinic owners, and proponents of fad diets are all hoping that you don't discover this information. In fact, many would be willing to pay us off just to keep quiet. But we're going to share it anyway.

First, a little background information. The human body is an amazing machine. It takes whatever food and drink we ingest and converts it into the energy we need to perform our daily activities and maintain our bodily functions. The energy that we take in and then burn off is measured in units is called "calories." We burn a certain amount of calories even while we're resting, more if we're active and even more still if we're exercising.

What's The Big Secret?

If you burn off more calories than you take in, you will lose weight! All you have to do to lose weight is burn more calories than you're eating on a daily basis. That's pretty intense stuff. Your head is probably spinning right now and you have a lot of questions. Let's see if we can help.

Does that mean you can be a couch potato and still lose weight?

Theoretically, yes. As long as your calorie intake is less than what you burn while you sit on the couch.

Does that mean you can eat cheeseburgers and donuts all the time and still lose weight?

Theoretically yes. But then you would have to get off the couch and be active enough to burn more calories than are contained in all of that junk food.

In order to lose weight, do you have to drink special milk shakes, take weight-loss pills, go on the cabbage diet or join Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig?

Absolutely not!

Just to reiterate this state-of-the-art game-changing information: If you burn more calories than you consume you will lose weight. WOW! Sometimes it's the simple facts that are the most valuable and yet the most elusive. All tongue-in-cheekiness aside, what's the best way for YOU to safely lose weight?

Of course the details may vary from person to person, but we suggest finding the right blend of decreasing your calorie intake and increasing the calories you burn.

On the intake side:

  1. Eat a healthy blend of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
  2. Try to opt for healthier, lower calorie alternatives (i.e... salad over cheeseburger).
  3. Decrease the size of your portions.
  4. Count the calories you eat.

On the calorie burning side:

  1. Know your basal metabolic rate.
  2. Do the little things to get more exercise, like taking the stairs and parking the car farther away.
  3. Very carefully and gradually increase your exercise.
  4. Count the calories you burn.

Aha! Now you're probably thinking, "There's the rub! I knew it couldn't be that simple! I actually have to count calories and how the heck do I know my basal metabolic rate? It'd be easier just to start the chicken soup diet!"

Well, as it turns out, it is still very simple. The internet is loaded with calculators to determine your basal metabolic rate. You just punch in your age, sex, height and weight and the calculations are done for you. It's also very easy to find out how many calories are in the food you're eating and how many calories you're burning on that 20 minute walk or whatever other exercise you're doing. Thank you, Google! And if that's not easy enough, there are smartphone apps, Fitbits, and other apps, programs and devices that do all of the above and more.

So, if 2015 is your year to shed a few pounds, we suggest you keep it simple and remember this information: Burn more calories than you eat! It's really all you need. If you have questions or need help with your exercise program, contact us by calling 562-433-0478.

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Richard H. Graves, DPM
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Podiatrist, Sports Medicine Specialist
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