So you want to lose weight. Now what? Work yourself to exhaustion in the gym? Restrict your calories so you are starving all the time?
It doesn’t have to be that way. Are you ready for the key to weight loss?
At the end of the day, burn more calories than you consumed. In other words, be in a caloric deficit.
Here is an example with some numbers for you:
Let’s look at a 5 foot 6 inch, 40 year old female who weighs 150 lbs. (These numbers all matter when it comes to figuring these things out).
Let’s say this is what her day typically looks like, calorie-wise:
- Breakfast: Coffee with cream, flavor shot and sugar, no breakfast. 120 calories
- Lunch: Grilled chicken salad with croutons, cheese, and ranch dressing: 720 calories
- Snack: Candy bar at work: 300 calories
- Dinner: Broiled salmon with vegetables and potatoes cooked using olive oil: 850 calories
- Dessert: Soft serve ice cream cone: 550 calories
Total for the day: 2540 calories
Let’s say that this same woman does a lot of sitting at work, but takes a walk on her lunch break for 15 minutes, and then comes to the gym after work and does the elliptical for 30 minutes or so, 3-4 days a week.
With all of her activities she burns approximately 2150 calories in a day through some exercise and her metabolic activities in her body.
So, taking in 2540 and burning 2150 leaves an excess of 390 calories a day not being burned and potentially being stored as fat.
And these are the days she exercises. On the days she doesn’t, she has an excess of about 630 calories.
Every 3500 calories not burned = 1 pound of body fat gained. So this woman could potentially gain 1 pound of fat over about every 7-9 days or so.
In a little over a month, she will put on about 3-4 lbs, and in a year 36-46 lbs, etc. And that is how weight gain gets out of control.
Let’s take a second look at this same woman, but change around what she eats and her activity level a little bit:
- Breakfast: Coffee with lite cream and sugar, yogurt and strawberries: 180 calories
- Lunch: Grilled chicken with rice and veggies: 550 calories
- Snack: mandarin oranges and hard boiled egg, 150 calories
- Dinner: Grilled steak with vegetables and potatoes, grilled: 750 calories
- Dessert: Yasso frozen yogurt bar: 120 calories
Total for the day: 1750 calories
Let’s say she now takes two 15 minute walks at work, and goes to the gym after work and does 30 minutes on the elliptical with a little more resistance than she used to, and also does 20 minutes of strength training, 4 days a week. With all of her activities she burns approximately 2580 calories in a day, on days she exercises.
1750 in – 2580 out = -830 on exercise days
1750 in – 1800 out = -50 on days when she only takes walks at work.
This comes out to a total loss of about 3470 calories, which would be around 1 pound of fat lost per week.
This is about the most I would recommend someone losing safely in a week.
Right now, all kinds of diets are popular, from keto to vertical etc. etc. Truthfully (and mathematically) it doesn’t matter WHAT you eat.
“If you are in a caloric deficit, you WILL LOSE
But how satisfied do you feel? How much energy do you have? Can you gain strength? How are you sleeping? Are you taking in enough fiber? Are you getting all the vitamins and minerals
you need? These are the things that seem to fall to the wayside when people start a diet.
Long term success requires a plan, commitment, and eating habits that will leave you feeling satisfied and able to do all the things you want. It requires doing something that you can keep
doing, even when you’ve reached your weight loss goal. If you want to chat more about weight loss and food, or want more information on our nutrition plans, come see me during office hours this month!
Jen Hazzard is a Alpin Haus Fitness’ Nutritionist, a Precision Nutrition Certified Nutrition Coach, NCCPT certified Personal Trainer, holds a bachelor‘s degree in Biochemistry with a minor in Nutrition and a master’s degree in Chemistry Education.
She is also a record holding powerlifter and former marathon runner.