Weight loss. Hasn’t that been the HOT TOPIC since the end of the late 19th century? There was indeed a time when being “fat” was considered “beautiful.” I think I should have lived during that era since I gain weight by just smelling food. Back then having extra meat on you was an indicator of your wealth and status – if you were fat, then you clearly had enough money to feast multiple times a day.
Unfortunately fortunately, with awareness and education we have learned that being overweight is actually bad for your health. Having too much excessive body fat can actually lead to coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, and even some cancers.
Losing weight is
probably based on the simplest concept: caloric deficit! Two words that will most definitely get you to your weight goals. One pound of body fat is equal to 3500 calories. That is the magic number; burn it in your brain! Now if you want to lose one pound a week, you simply have to eat 3500 calories less than what your body needs to function and maintain your current weight. To calculate that you need to figure out your BMR.
What is BMR?
BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate. It is the minimum amount of energy you use in one day to just live, that includes sleeping, breathing, digesting, and basically all autonomic nervous system functions.
Now obviously you do not sit idol all day, and if you were to subtract 3500 calories a week off just your BMR, you would be starving yourself and further risking yourself. So, you need to add your daily activity to your BMR to figure out how many calories to consume (daily) to maintain your current weight.
If you are sedentary take your BMR and multiply it by 1.2
If you participate in light activity: BMR x 1.375
Moderately active, meaning you exercise regularly: BMR x 1.55
Very active, meaning you exercise intensely almost everyday: BMR x 1.725
If you are an athlete (or do hard labor or training for a marathon): BMR x 1.9
THIS number is the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain your weight. I will continue to refer to this number as the “GOLDEN NUMBER.”
If you want to lose weight, eat less calories than this; if you want to gain weight, eat more calories; and if you want to stay the same, eat just this much.
Now obviously this isn’t always accurate but it gives you a ball park number. We don’t have the access to expensive equipment to accurately calculate our body compositions, so we rely on formulas.
Okay, so the healthy way to go about this approach is to subtract 500 calories from the golden number. This way you will lose 1 pound per week – 500 x 7 (days) = 3500 right? It is not recommended to lose more than a pound a week; plus you don’t want to…starving yourself is NEVER fun! Enjoy life! We only live once. Now that you know how many calories you need, you can create the PERFECT diet. Eat whatever you like, as long as you stick within your daily caloric needs! That is the black and white way of looking at things. Obviously what you eat will dramatically affect your weight loss goals; if eat sugar, fatty, and processed foods, you will still see results, but probably not as fast as the clean eater.
Also, you can still eat the golden number (without going on a caloric deficit), and just increase your activity level, so you are burning more calories rather than eating less. Both, cutting calories and exercising more are hard to do, so choose one or if your a real go-getter, do both!
If you are serious about losing weight, then I really recommend keeping a food log. Write down everything you eat in a day. It helps you see what your eating habits are like and it also helps you eat clean. It sounds silly, but when your writing your diet down, you don’t want to eat bad because that means you have to write it down, and subconsciously you feel like your being held accountable. I logged my food diligently for just over one year. It really helped me with eating right. I can now just look at food and know how many ounces (I should know weight in grams, being from Canada, but I always measured in ounces) and calories it has. I bought a little weighing scale and weighed all my lean meats and veggies. Call me crazy, but I was serious and determined!
To really achieve the results your looking for, eat:
Whole Grains: brown rice, brown pasta, quinoa, bran cereal, etc
Lean Meats: Chicken breasts, extra lean beef, lean turkey, etc
Good Fats: Olive oil, avocado, flax seeds, etc.
Steer away from sugar, processed foods. There is nothing good about those. High processed sugars will spike your insulin, and remember what I said in my post on the Glycemic Index: Insulin is a fat storing hormone!
And obviously processed foods are bad, I mean, just the word PROCESSED make you think that anything and everything good from it has been striped out.
If you are a student, or don’t cook, and you buy frozen foods, then I urge you to read the label! Don’t buy products that say they have HYDROGENATED OILS (these are trans fats and are BAD) and don’t buy products with ingredients that sound like something from a chemistry text book. You should be able to pronounce everything on the label! Of course you should try your best to eat real foods that come from the ground but I understand how life can be. It is hard to eat healthy and clean at times. Really speaking, it all boils down to time management and being organized. Once you get those two down, your GOLDEN!
Now that you know the basics on weight loss, I am going to leave you with a song that I think belongs on EVERY workout playlist: