What Is the Most Important Element When It Comes to Losing Weight

Calorie balance is the most important element in weight loss.

What is the most important element in losing weight? originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus.

Calorie balance is the most important element in weight loss. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts it: “If you are gaining weight, you are eating more calories than your body is using.” Calories play a big role in controlling your weight. There are hundreds of dieting strategies with various relationships to caloric intake; at the end of the day, weight management still comes down to the calorie in and calorie out in your body.

The best ways to decrease your intake of calories are eating less and eating a healthier diet, while the best way to increase your calorie expenditure is exercise.

Generally speaking, though, it is very difficult for most people to stick to their plan of eating less in the long term. Research has shown our brain has a certain "set point" for our body weight that tends not to budge through dieting alone. When we lose weight by dieting, the set point will try to bring the body weight back by shutting down our base metabolic rate to conserve energy, causing us to burn fewer calories. At the same time, dieting makes us feel very hungry. The end results of many dieting attempts leave most people regaining the lost weight — and some regaining even more.

Bariatric surgery is a way in which we combat the difficulties and downsides of dieting — such as long-term adherence and decreased metabolism — while still working to achieve weight loss.

This question originally appeared on Quora. More questions on Quora:

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* Weight Loss Surgery: What are the differences between the weight loss surgery, bariatric surgery, and metabolic surgery?

* Medicine and Healthcare: How can patients tell which kind of bariatric surgery is right for them?

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