Hormones and preconscious triggers run the show. Any fitness franchise or weight loss program which doesn’t mention the hormonal cascades which DICTATE physical change and progress is missing the point entirely. Children do not grow taller because they overeat. People with lipodystrophy and metastatic cancers GROW in caloric deficit all the time.
“Burn more calories than you consume” is as helpful an explanation as “Jeff Bezos saved more money than he spent.” It’s true, but entirely useless information.
Don’t mishear me. It’s not that calories never matter. But researchers at Stanford Medical in 2018 proved that overstressed people convert the MAJORITY of new cells into fat cells. So someone could run 1,000 or 2,000 calorie deficits all day every day and still get fatter. Moreover, the ever-growing population of fat cells in that person will be sending increasingly strong signals to overeat. Thus, we see how a blithe low-stress and already-lean athlete is playing by an unrelated set of biological rules, wherein for that athlete a calorie-based model could work really really well. And as long as that athlete remains relatively lean and relatively low-stress (compared to the general populace), he will also remain insulated from understanding the truth about metabolic reality.
What’s the answer? Well, seasons. For the average and overstressed people, becoming lean will remain elusive until stress is addressed. Even if compliance is high with caloric deficits, generally they just get toothpick limbs and lighter bodyweight with a remaining belly paunch. They’re going to have to lift heavy weights. They’re going to have to improve sleep. They may have to quit toxic work environments or relationships. They must embrace seasons of building UP and seasons of breaking down.
On the whole people will have to abandon this folly of always striving for deficits and chasing calories as an additional stress to an already-overstressed life. Stress management does not mean the chronic additional of even more mismanagement. Know your calories. Know your macros. However, if you have mismanaged stress, we know that more than half of your new cells are fat cells. What is the caloric intake number which makes less fat while the body is making more than half of new cells into fat? To be clear, how can you use the modest undirected SUBTRACTION of energy from a system which is continually MULTIPLYING fat tissue and end up LEANER (more lean tissue than fat tissue)? Clearly, you can see there is no way to make the math work. And this is why the simpleton thinking of calorie addition and subtraction, though a great description, is empty of explanation.
Explanation tells us HOW to manipulate variables for a desired outcome. Description merely depicts the change which occurs/occurred. Calories can never explain. Calories only describes. We need to stop calling descriptions "explanation." Calories is not an explanation.