Despite the way it feels, losing weight isn't a mysterious process. It's a simple matter of burning more calories than you eat. But, if it were really that simple, none of us would have a weight problem, would we? Weight loss can be such a struggle that we start thinking we have to do something drastic to see results -- diets, pills or those weird fitness gadgets on infomercials that promise instant success. The true secret to weight loss is this: Make small changes each and every day and you'll slowly (but surely) lose those extra pounds. The key is to forget about instant results and settle in for the long run.
Rules of Weight Loss
To lose one pound of fat, you must burn approximately 3500 calories over and above what you already burn doing daily activities. That sounds like a lot of calories and you certainly wouldn't want to try to burn 3500 calories in one day. However, by taking it step-by-step, you can determine just what you need to do each day to burn or cut out those extra calories. Below is a step by step process for getting started.
1. Calculate your BMR (basal metabolic rate). Your BMR is what your body needs to maintain normal functions like breathing and digestion. This is the minimum number of calories you need to eat each day. Keep in mind that no calculator will be 100% accurate, so you may need to adjust these numbers as you go along.
2. Calculate your activity level. Use a calorie calculator to figure out how many calories you burn while sitting, standing, exercising, lifting weights, etc. throughout the day. It helps to keep a daily activity journal or you could even wear a heart rate monitor that calculates calories burned.
3. Keep track of how many calories you eat. You can use a site like Calorie Count or use a food journal to write down what you eat and drink each day. Be as accurate as possible, measuring when you need to or looking up nutritional information for restaurants, if you eat out.
4. Add it up. Take your BMR number, add your activity calories and then subtract your food calories from that total. If you're eating more than you're burning, (your BMR + activity is 2000 and you're eating 2400 calories) you'll gain weight. If you're burning more than you eat, you'll lose weight.
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Some of the most intense exercise we can perform. The energy to fuel these activities comes almost exclusively from carbohydrates. The amount of total calories burned is very high whilst performing the movement, however they can only be performed for short periods due to muscle fatigue. Plenty of rest periods are needed between each bout resulting in less total calories burned over the course of a training session. Normally other aerobic exercises are performed continuously for the whole duration of a session therefore total calories burnt are usually much higher. A positive reason to exercise lightly over a longer duration!
Intense exercises may now seem totally out the question when trying to lose weight however, it has been suggested that intense training can elevate the metabolism long after the exercise has stopped, resulting in many extra calories being burnt while at rest. Using weights to build lean muscle also has the added advantage of increasing the metabolism again rocketing the fat burning potential at rest. Including a little weight training in our exercise program may be a good idea but it should only be attempted after fitness has increased a little.
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