All that really matters is that there is a caloric deficit created daily, which can be from dieting OR excercise, or a combination of both. Calroic deficit being that you burn more than you take in. And whether you do that by diet, exercise or a combination it doesn't matter.
Obviously, if you are looking for long-term success, exercising contributes to that end greatly. Resistance training, specifically has so many benefits, that burning calories is the least of it!
To start, there are BMR calculators online that will tell you what your base metabolic rate is. BMR is the number of calories your body burns in a day, without exercise, just to run it's daily function.
So, say your BMR is 1800. If you eat 1300 calories a day, you'll create a deficit of 500 calories, daily. If a lb is roughly 3500 calories, it will take you 7 days to lose a pound.
If you were to create a 500 calorie deficite just by eating less, and then burn another 500 from exercising, you can see how the deficite can build up, an in just 4 days you could lose a pound.
I am just rounding out numbers, but you get the picture.
Also, note, I am not a professional -- this is just basic information I've learned over the years that help contribute my weight loss efforts.
One thing I have read over and over again, is never let your caloric intake drop below 1200 calories; doing so is bad for your metabolism and you can find yourself working hard and losing nothing.
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