With all of the thousand of weight loss programs and products out there, it can be awfully confusing figuring out what is true, what is hype, and what is the most useful information.  Before getting lost on the internet with too much information, it can be useful to get back to basics on what exactly causes a person to lose weight.

The important role of calories

The simple fact about calories is that they are the fuel that runs the engine of your body.  You use them just like a car uses gas, to get up in the morning, to walk around all day, and even to sleep.  But consume more calories than you burn, and the rest will be stored as fat.  Your body stores fat as a defense so that in case you run out of food one day, it could use all that stored energy.  But since you’re probably not going to run out of food, it just stays stored as fat.  What’s more is that many of the foods we love today in modern society contain way more calories than we need.  Anything that’s fried or that has a lot of corn syrup is generally high in calories.  And if we don’t burn those calories, they, too, will end up as fat.

If you control your calorie balance, you control your weight

So the most basic way to lose weight is to control your calorie balance.  You can do this either by consuming fewer calories or by burning more of them.  We obviously burn calories by exercising, but how can we consume less of them, when it’s so hard to find low calorie foods?

Much of controlling calorie intake is a matter of changing the way you eat.  Many people say that snacking in between meals is bad for weight loss.  This is true if you are snacking on potato chips and donuts, but the fact is that a healthy snack like some grapes or carrot sticks can help you control your cravings and prevent you from overeating when mealtime finally rolls around.

Another habit you can change to lower your calorie intake is by eating in smaller portions.  If you put a ton of food on your plate, you are likely to eat all of it simply because it is there.  If, however, you consciously decide to take a smaller portion of food at every meal, you can make a big dent in your calorie count simply by eating less.

In the end, the basics of weight loss and getting rid of belly fat is much simpler than they may appear.  By reducing your calorie intake and burning more of what you take in, you will be well on your way to losing weight.