We’ve all been there --- starved ourselves by not eating past six pm; suffered 200 crunches everyday to reduce our fats. We’ve even bought machines that promise to whittle down our middles and remove our double chins.

But because physical fitness is a science, we do know that there are proper and healthier ways of losing weight.

Are carbs really evil? According to health experts, carbs are not really evil. It’s a matter of choosing the right kind of carbs. Carbohydrates are often referred to as good or bad, complex or simple. Carbs --- sugar, starches and fiber --- are the best source of energy for our bodies. Our bodies need carbohydrates for muscle, brain, and central nervous system functions.

 Will we lose weight if we reduce our carb intake?  It will certainly lessen your weight, but then your energy level and muscle mass will be sacrificed. If you’re going for genuine, long-term fat loss, you will need both carbohydrates and protein to maximize muscle growth. And by building muscle to burn fat, your body’s metabolism increases, thereby making your body more efficient in converting fat and carbohydrate stores into energy.  It’s really just common sense: Avoid junk foods loaded with sugar and transfats --- like cake, butter, pastries. Replace white bread with brown bread, white rice with brown rice, and so on.

 Are all calories created equal?  Yes. A calorie is nothing more or less than a unit of energy.  Calories are translated into stored fat because if our bodies take in more calories than it can burn, these excess calories will be stored as fat no matter if they come from fat calories, carb calories, or protein calories.

Why is it important to eat breakfast? Whenever you go to sleep, your body goes into a fasting state. So it is important for people to eat breakfast after they wake up so they’ll have the energy to function properly. Breakfast jumpstarts metabolism --- the faster you metabolize, the more weight you will lose. It’s also a strategic move: If we skip breakfast, we tend to overeat the rest of the day to compensate for the longer time our bodies have gone without food.

Then does it matter what time of the day we eat, and how often?  Eating about every two and a half hours --- rather than every five to six hours --- is a more efficient way for your body to take in nutrition. Your body is like one big furnace. If you have three chunks of wood that are as big as a regular table, chop them up and put them in the furnace, how long do you think it will take for them to burn? The same with your body; if you take three big meals, it takes longer for your body to use them as energy. But if you take smaller meals, it’s absorbed quicker, especially with regular exercise.

Why do people who work out get hungrier faster?  At a certain time your body needs X number of calories.  If you go beyond that, it will be stored as fat right away. When you exercise, your metabolism becomes faster; your body becomes more efficient in burning the food you eat, or converting them into energy. So when you burn it faster, you get hungrier faster.

How intense and how often should a workout be to achieve optimum weight loss?  At least 40 minutes to an hour every day. This way, one can alternate between high-and-low intensity exercises and focus on specific muscle groups on certain days, enabling him or her to have better muscle tone and increased stamina. If it's not possible to work out every day, then three times a week of high-intensity exercise should be enough.

Why are the last five pounds so hard to lose?  When the body gets used to your regular workout routine, it doesn't have to work as hard anymore. In order to avoid this weight loss plateau, vary your routine every so often. This way, you'll steer clear of workout boredome as well.