Natural Weight Loss by the Numbers
Losing weight is simple and yet hard to do. Weight loss naturally sounds wonderful, simple and healthy, weight loss naturally as opposed to a medical procedure like having your stomach stapled, pharmaceuticals or dangerous diet pills.
I have a friend whose favorite phrase is do the math. That is all there is to losing weight, just doing the math. There is a saying that the faster you lose weight the faster it comes back on, you can't be impatient about weight loss. Losing excess weight slowly can be aggravating and exasperating while you seem to hit plateau after plateau, it just never seems to come off fast enough. The key to weight loss is not to starve all day every day and to enjoy what you are eating and know the numbers.
The numbers you need to know are the amount of calories you are currently eating every day, the number of calories you need to maintain your present weight and the number of calories you need to cut out in order to lose weight.
Weight Loss by the Numbers
Now what you need to know are the numbers, doing the math. The first number you need to know is your BMR which stands for your Basal Metabolic Rate. This number is the amount of calories needed to maintain your current weight if you were to lie in bed all day. This is a good starting point but the numbers could be a little skewed. If you are very muscular, the BMR might underestimate your caloric needs and if you are very overweight it might over-estimate your caloric needs. The following are the BMR formulas in both English and Metric.
Male: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years).
Female: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years ).
Male: BMR = 66 + (13.75 x weight in kg) + (5 x height in cm) - (6.8 x age in years)
Female: BMR = 655 + (9.56 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) - (4.7 x age in years)
Before we can use the above numbers, we need to take into account your activity level using the following chart.
Define activity category
Little to no exercise. Desk job
Light exercise 1-3 times per week
Exercise 3-5 times per week
Hard exercise 6-7 days a week
Vigorous daily exercise or sports or hard daily physical job.
To get the calories you need to maintain your weight or your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) you multiple your BMR number by the activity factor number in the above chart. This is amount of calories your body used to maintain its current weight.
For example a 25-year old woman who is 5'5" (65") and weighs 165 would calculate her BMR as 655 + (4.35 x weight = 717.75) + (4.7 x height in inches = 305.5) - (4.7 x 25=117.5) = a BMR of 1560.75.
If this woman were sedentary at a desk job all day, we would multiply the 1560.71 by 1.2, which equals 1873 calories she needs daily to maintain her current weight.
Another example, a 30 year old man who is 5'10" (70 inches) and weighs 200 pounds would calculate his BMR as 66 + (6.23 x 200 lbs = 1246) + (12.7 x 70 inches = 889) - (6.8 x 30 = 204) equals a BMR of 1997.
If this man exercised or played softball twice a week, we would multiply the 1997 by 1.375, which equals 2746 calories he needs daily to maintain his current weight.
Most likely neither of our examples would want to maintain their weight since according the Body Mass Index, both are considered overweight and they would want to lose weight by cutting out calories and increasing activity to burn calories.
Weight Loss Saboteurs
One pound equals 3500 calories. If you wanted to lose 1 pound per week you would have to cut out 3500 calories per week or 500 calories per day. You can cut out 250 calories per day and add an exercise program, which would burn an extra 250 calories per day. Calories are hidden everywhere. You think you are just having a can of soup for lunch and it says 180 calories per serving, many of us assume that small can is just one serving and then you look at it and it says 2.5 servings. Of course that's crazy but you have to do the math. That one can of soup is actually 450 calories (180 x 2.5). You have to look at the serving size.
If you drink coffee, you might not add that into your daily caloric intake. One teaspoon of sugar is 16 calories and one teaspoon of powdered creamer is 10 calories. 26 calories per cup of coffee, if you have just 4 cups of coffee with creamer and sugar that's an extra 104 calories per day and an extra 728 calories per week.
Hidden sugars can also sabotage your weight loss program, so you have to read ingredients. Today, many products you wouldn’t think have sugar are loaded with high fructose corn syrup, which is equal or worse than sugar for your weight loss program.
Before you start any serious exercise program, you should check with your doctor. And it is not safe to consume less than 1200 calories a day for women or 1800 calories a day for men. Eat your food slowly, chewing each bite a hundred times or more. This will aid digestion and a good digestive system will help with your weight loss.
The next part of this article, Natural Weight Loss: Using and Losing Calories will talk about cutting and burning the extra calories.
© 2009 Sam Montana