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Our bodies cannot function without energy. In the same way as a car needs fuel to drive, humans need energy in the form of food. If you want to lose weight, the recipe for success could actually be quite easy: from now on, eat less than your body needs! Or conversely, use more energy (than you eat during meals) so that you always have a calorie deficit at the end of the day.

While the theory sounds simple, the reality is a little different. After all, who knows exactly how much energy they consume during the day? And we are even less able to understand how much energy is registered as too much and subsequently stored as fat.

Exercise helps you get into better shape.

How to burn fat

Exercise helps you get into better shape. Regular running, for example, increases muscle mass. In turn, more muscle mass increases your basal metabolic rate. This means: if you exercise regularly, you will burn more calories even when you are resting. 

  • Avoid drastic measures: if you want to lose weight, you obviously have to change your diet. Low energy density foods help fill you up yet contain fewer calories. In contrast, a diet which involves you radically reducing your calorie intake will not yield the desired result. In this emergency situation, the body breaks down muscle cells rather than fat to get the energy it needs. When this kind of diet ends, the pounds soon start piling back on.
  • What works: you have to burn approximately 3,500 calories to lose one pound of body fat (as a guideline, a runner weighing 70 kg who jogs briskly for half an hour will burn approx. 400 calories). The more time you spend on low-intensity exercise, the more efficiently you will burn fat.
  • Pay attention to low intensity: particularly important: the body can only burn fat if it gets enough oxygen. And this only ever happens during low-intensity exercise, when your body's oxygen supply and consumption are in balance.
    Simple rule of thumb: do not run any faster than the speed at which you can still hold a conversation. If you are not getting enough oxygen (e.g. because you are out of breath), your body will not be able to burn fat.
  • Pros can do more: long, slow endurance runs are a great fat-burning workout. If you already have some running experience, you can also try interval training. The concept: after a brief warm-up run (about five minutes), drastically increase your speed. Run at 85 to 95 per cent of your maximum speed for three to five minutes. Then jog comfortably for five minutes before increasing your speed again.
You can only burn fat if your oxygen intake is sufficient. 
  • Use the afterburn effect: interval running has a remarkable afterburn effect! The body continues drawing on its energy reserves for up to two hours afterwards. Make the most of this "magic formula" and avoid carbohydrate-rich foods immediately after jogging.   
  • Leave off foods that make you fat: sounds so easy, and in fact it is... Hands off sweet, sugary foods (lemonades, juices, fruit yoghurts, smoothies). They are immediately converted into the unhealthy fatty acids we have just been fighting. 
  • Low carb does not mean no carb: having fewer carbohydrates in your diet is good, but you should not eliminate them altogether. Otherwise, you run the risk of a decline in your mental and physical fitness. Annoying side-effect: this diet also increases your cravings for extremely fatty foods.