There are millions of different diets, from Atkins to Keto, which people use to lose weight, burn fat, and improve their physical appearance. And even though most weight-loss diets restrict certain food groups (like carbs or fats,) they are all based on one important principle: Caloric deficit. What is more, the amount of calories you eat in a day, together with the quality of your meals, is directly related to weight management.  
- Consuming fewer calories than you burn in a day may support weight loss and reduce body fat;
- If you burn the same amount of calories that you consume, you are likely to keep your weight balanced and maintain your body fat percentage;
- If you consume more calories than you burn, you are likely to gain body fat;
Taking those rules into account, if you want to burn body fat, you have to either consume fewer calories, increase your energy expenditure, or combine these two approaches!  But how does your body burn these calories and can you “make it burn” more?
This article will guide you through the answers of these questions!
Let’s get started!
How does your body burn calories?
When looking at the scale, weight changes can happen not only because of stored body fat. Drinking, eating, as well as water retention, or having hormonal imbalance may impact the number on your scale, but may have NO actual impact on your body fat.
That being said, most people use the term “weight loss” to refer to “burning” stored fat. But did you know that your body doesn’t really eliminate or burn the fat cells?
According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of Nature Cell Biology, the body can easily create new fat cells, but once they are formed, they cannot be eliminated or disappear. 
But when the cells are shrinked, where does the previously stored fat go? According to Cleveland Clinic, there are three options  :
- Exits the body through sweat in the form of water.
- Exits the body through urine as water.
- Exits the body in the form of CO2 (carbon dioxide) through the lungs when you exhale.
When in a caloric deficit (eating fewer calories than you burn) the body utilizes the stored energy (in the form of fat) in order to continue functioning properly: for both biological processes and physical activity.
This way, water and CO2 are the byproducts of this energy metabolism, which exit the body through sweat, urine, and breathing.
The source also suggests that even though breathing seems to help us lose weight, breathing MORE cannot help you lose your extra pounds. Instead, this may cause hyperventilation, dizziness, and palpitations.
Yet, exercises that increase the respiratory rate may indeed support fat burning, as they increase energy expenditure and enable more CO2 to leave the body.
Activities that help you lose weight
Your body uses energy constantly, even if you don’t notice it.
In fact, the largest daily energy expenditure (about 60-75% of total calories burned) is utilized by the body for biological processes  :
- Maintaining temperature and brain function
- Digesting food
- Blood circulation
- Other body functions
Of course, the exact percentage of burned calories depends on your resting or basal metabolic rate, which may change according to your genes, age, sex, physical acivity, dietary choices, and overall health condition.  Accordingly, if you have a fast metabolism, you may burn up to 85% of the consumed calories by simply existing. Isn’t that cool?
The elevated metabolic rate muscle gives you, means you will burn more fat and calories at rest as well as during your cardio workouts, making your cardio activities more effective. Strength training includes yoga and barre classes as well as weight training.
If this is all a bit confusing, a registered dietitian can help you connect your eating and exercise plan with your overall goals.
Benefit from integrated and personalized approach to nutrition, health, fitness and healing. Check out the schedule for booking online yoga and barre classes, or book a nutrition consultation on Annetteoneillwellness.com!
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the following activities may boost your metabolism  :
- Doing HIIT (high intensity-interval) exercises
- Eating protein and doing weight trainings
- Drinking green tea (suggesting that about 3 cups of green tea may burn extra 100 calories per day) 
Of course, the more you move, and the more active you are, the more energy you use (and more calories are burned). Supporting that, the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention confirm that vigorous physical activity burns more calories than moderate and light activity. 
The source also suggests that the exercises which burn most calories are:
- Cycling (>10mph)
- Walking (>4.5mph)
- Heavy yard work
- Weight lifting
Furthermore, a 2017 study published in the Journal of Health and Quality of Life Outcomes suggests that high- and moderate-intensity workouts (like aerobics, tabata, running, high intensity-interval workouts, and overall cardio) can significantly contribute to large energy expenditure. 
What is more, according to Cleveland Clinic, cardio, weight lifting, and resistance training may increase your metabolic rate and help you burn more calories.