Even as a personal trainer it is not easy to lose body fat and maintain a lean healthy body. It is a numbers game and if you aren’t good with numbers then losing weight will continue to be a struggle.
I am the first to say if there was a magic pill or magic diet that would aid in losing weight safely and permanently, I would know about it. I would share it with the world and be sitting in St. Barts right now enjoying my early retirement. However, I am not in St. Barts enjoying my early retirement which can only mean one thing, there is NO magic pill and NO magic diet that will make you lose weight and keep it off for good.
Fat loss is a ratio of calories in vs. calories out. In order to lose 1lb of fat a week we need to create a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day, a total of 3500 calories per week. Seems easy enough right? Well, the problem is a lot of people think that if they up that number they will lose more weight. Not true! If we create an 800 or more caloric deficit per day this will cause the body to go into “famine” mode. Your endocrine glands purposely slow down the metabolism and conserve energy thinking you are unable to find food and when we slow down the metabolism we actually burn less calories. We end up losing muscle and storing fat. These are not the results we were looking for.
We have to start thinking differently about our diets and perhaps “eating ourselves thin” is a better way to accomplish our goals than “starving ourselves thin”. As most of my clients know, it is 80% what you eat and 20% exercise that will give you the best and longest lasting results. 20% exercise? Yes! Don’t get me wrong exercise is extremely important but if we don’t have our diet in check, those calories we burn during exercise will mean nothing as far as weight loss is concerned.
As a matter of fact, I know a lot of you think that if you exercise you can get away with eating what ever you want. Take for example, if you workout on a treadmill, bicycle, or elliptical and it tells you that you just burned 900 calories in 40 minutes, don’t be fooled! Those machines are extremely inaccurate and are a lot of times blamed for weight gain. Think about it, if I just burned 900 calories and I go out for lunch with friends, I will grant myself permission to indulge a little. When in truth, I maybe burned 300 calories max and now I have consumed more calories in, which means there is no caloric deficit. If I keep this pattern up, I will in fact gain weight instead of losing weight. Again, not quite the results we were looking for.
Tips on creating a Caloric Deficit:
|Activity (1-hour duration)||Weight of person and calories burned|
|160 pounds (73 kilograms)||200 pounds (91 kilograms)||240 pounds (109 kilograms)|
|Aerobics, high impact||533||664||796|
|Aerobics, low impact||365||455||545|
|Bicycling, < 10 mph, leisure||292||364||436|
|Football, touch or flag||584||728||872|
|Golfing, carrying clubs||314||391||469|
|Resistance (weight) training||365||455||545|
|Running, 5 mph||606||755||905|
|Running, 8 mph||861||1,074||1,286|
|Softball or baseball||365||455||545|
|Tae kwon do||752||937||1,123|
|Walking, 2 mph||204||255||305|
|Walking, 3.5 mph||314||391||469|
So if you are really serious about making a difference in your body that will last, then I suggest you start tracking calories in and calories out. Once you get a handle on those numbers you will be in total control of the changes that take place in your body.
[Image: Flickr user Pooja's_Way]