Thursday, April 3, 2008

Finding a Balance


When it comes to losing weight the equation is simple. Calories in vs. Calories out. The part that is NOT simple about this is trying to find the right balance between the two. In order for your body to lose weight you have to burn more calories than you consume, otherwise your body will store the extra calories, causing you to gain weight. So, you must know how many calories you are burning in one day and how many calories you are consuming. To find out how many calories you should be eating here's what you need to do.
1. Find your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). This is the amount of calories your body burns each day just to keep you alive if you were just to sit and do nothing.

Women
:BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men:BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year )
(here's a link that will do it for you) http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/

2. Next you'll want to calculate how many additional calories you'll burn for your activity level.
Harris Benedict FormulaTo determine your total daily calorie needs, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor, as follows:
  1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.2
  2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.375
  3. If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.55
  4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.725
  5. If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : Calorie-Calculation = BMR x 1.9
3. Ok, so now you need to figure out your calorie deficit. If you eat this amount of calories just figured out you'll maintain your current weight. A pound of fat is equal to 3,5000 calories. So, to lose a pound in a week you would want a deficit of 3,500 calories from your diet. Or in other words, if you ate 500 calories less per day you would lose a pound per week. This calorie deficit can come from consuming less calories or from burning more calories. For sustaining weight loss it is best when it comes from a combination of the two. Maintaining weight loss is very difficult with out regular physical activity. With the calculation of calories with your activity level multiply that number by .33 and then subtract that amount. This will give you the number of calories you should be eating. (You shouldn't drop below 1,200 calories.)

4. Lastly, and most importantly you have to record your calories. This is the biggest part of the weight loss process. It is with my clients that are faithful and exact with writing things down that see the pounds drop. Pay special attention to the little bites that you grab in passing in the kitchen, it's usually those "bites" that add up and cause you to gain weight. I like using www.fitday.com to record my calories, but you can use a notebook, palm pilot, whatever works for you. If you don't have the nutrition facts of a food you can find it online by going to google and typing "nutrition facts (name of food)" and you'll be able to find it. Be sure to pay attention to your serving size. A bowl of cereal isn't a serving, sometimes its two or three depending on what cereal you're eating. Here is a website that can help you identify serving sizes if it isn't listed with your food item http://web.mit.edu/athletics/sportsmedicine/wcrservings.html
With this really the most important thing i can say is be exact.

I apologize for the long blog post, but I hope that this information will be helpful to someone. I know that the weight loss process isn't easy. Consistency is the key here. It takes time, but if you stick to it you can do it. Please let me know if you have any questions!! Good luck.