Calories in vs Calories out
If there was a formula for weight loss this would it. Every person has whats known as a 'maintenance level' calorie intake, this is the number of calories that they will consume to keep their weight as it is, this number is not an exact, an extra 5 or 10 calories a day under or over is going to make no noticeable difference. This number is based on several factors:
- Current weight
- Metabolic rate
- Activity level
There are guide figures for men and women, for men: 2500 calories, for women: 2000. It may take some time before you find your maintenance level for the average person these are the figures. One of the hardest parts of weight loss is finding your maintenance level, sadly this can only really be doing through trial and error, however make sure you take the above factors into consideration. If you are very active your maintenance level is going to be higher, if you are desk bound and don't move a lot it will be lower.
Eating below maintenance
Simply put, to loose weight you need to eat under this maintenance level, once you have estimated this a good start is to drop 500 calories off. At this point it is important that you are counting your calories, now this may sound like a chore but it's quite easy to do. I recommend two websites, either fitday or caloriecount
Sign up to either of these and start counting straight away! its completely free and they have a list of every food, ingredient you can think of and their calorie values. After a while you can add your most used foods to speed things up a bit. After a few days you will start noticing roughly how many calories you are eating, adjust this accordingly to what you need.
So where does exercise fit into weight loss? Well when you are exercising you are burning calories, couple this with eating below your maintenance level and your onto a winner! The more you can keep track of your calories in and calories out the more effective your weight loss will be!
Keep it healthy.
An important consideration is that you don't want to overdo things, now don't get me wrong, when your trying to loose weight you want to do it as quickly as possible, but you need to be realistic, those fad diets that claim you can "loose 10lbs in 1 week!" are either scams or going to be very bad for your health, sure you want to loose weight but do not risk your health for it! Weight loss is a steady process and requires discipline. With that said though providing you stick to your diet then you can loose weight effectively and as quick as possible without damaging your health! To summarise this:
Don't starve yourself! This is the worst thing you can do, things like skipping breakfast and eating practically nothing all day are very bad for your health, not only that but they do NOT work! Your body is a surviving machine, if you do not feed it it will eat into muscle supplies and cling onto fat supplies for as long as possible, so starving yourself is going to make you weak and is one of the worst ways of trying to lose fat!
Hitting a plateau and maintaining your weight after weight loss.
Hopefully after a few weeks you will start noticing your weight loss, a good idea is to have regular weigh-ins and take photos in the same pose each day, after a few weeks hopefully you will start to see the difference. A lot of people will start losing weight but then after a will hit a brick wall, if this happens its usually because your maintenance level has dropped. If you think about the logic, you've lost weight, therefore your body needs less calories to maintain, if you haven't adjusted your diet to compensate for this though the chances are your probably eating AT your maintenance level! So the simple solution, drop another few hundred calories. It's important that you don't drop your calories too much, sudden drops are not good for your health, it is much better for you to use trial and error and gradually decrease your calorie intake.
Hopefully by now you've got a good idea as to what your doing, just remember these simple points and you cant go wrong!
- Keep it simple, there is no need to complicate things, remember calories in vs calories out!
- Stick at it! Don't give up, weight loss takes time and hard work, but the harder you work and the more organised you are about what you eat, the faster you can loose weight.
- Eating below maintenance as well as a good exercise program is the perfect combination for fast and healthy weight loss.
Good luck, feel free to let me know of your progress!