Jeff Katula, PhD, MA, associate professor of health and exercise science at Wake Forest University, says that when it comes to losing weight, it’s all about energy balance.

He recommends thinking about burning calories and saving calories the same way you do your money. If you put more money into your bank account than you spend, your bank account gets larger. With money that’s good but with weight, that’s bad.

Calories, which are units of measure of food’s energy, are money for your body. How much energy you put into your body is determined by the number of calories you eat and the amount of calories that you burn is the result of how much energy you expend.

“We can’t keep track of our bank account unless we keep track of how much we make and how much we spend. Some people even have a budget to determine how much they’re going to spend,” Katula says. “Calories should work the same way. If you want to control your weight then you need to know how many calories you’re taking in and how many you’re spending. If you can spend more than you take in, you’ll lose weight.”

Katula said he often asks people, what do you do to save money every month? Shop sales, clip coupons, buy store brands? You do these things because they add up and save you money. It’s the same thing with losing weight. The reality is that all the little things - taking stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away - you do throughout the day add up and have a big impact on your weight.