Figuring out weight loss… …minus the gimmicks.
Thanks to the booming diet industry, supplement-funded magazines, and tabloid-circulated celebrity eating plans, there is a ton of confusion out there regarding the ‘right way’ to lose weight.
Despite what you’ve been sold, there is no silver bullet when it comes to weight loss. Your weight is simply a balance between the calories (or energy) you eat and the calories you burn. Call it the Dieter’s Law of Thermodynamics. If you consume more calories than your body needs, your body is frugal and will squirrel away the extra energy as fat for later use. On the other hand, if you consume fewer calories than you burn, your body will have to tap into these fat stores and other tissues to make up the difference, which will ultimately result in weight loss. Therefore, the trick to weight loss is to create a calorie deficit.
Creating a calorie deficit can be done in a couple ways. If your body weight is a balance between calories-in and calories-out, weight loss is about altering one (or both) sides of the equation. Simply put, you can eat less and/or move more. Sounds easy, right? Obviously, if weight loss were an easy thing, the dieting industry would not be the cash cow that it is. The fact remains, however, that weight loss really is about changing the way you eat and the way you move. And, by doing a little number crunching, you can create a calorie plan suited to your goals.
Let’s do some math, shall we?
Suppose you want to lose about a pound per week. To drop that pound, you must create a calorie deficit of 3500 calories over seven days, or about 500 calories each day. Let me be clear that this does NOT mean you are to subsist on a measly 500 calories per day, rather you should be eating 500 calories less than what you need to maintain your weight. So, if you are a gal that needs about 2200 calories per day to maintain her weight, eating 1700 calories would allow you to lose one pound per week.
For more help figuring out how many calories you need, check out this handy online tool.
Now once you’ve got your calorie plan in hand, how do you get started? What should you eat? And how much? When? Hmm…this sounds like the start of a recurring blog theme…