Weight loss is a challenging endeavour for most people these days. Busy lifestyles combined with constant bombardment by television ads for tantalizing cheeseburgers and pizzas relentlessly stimulate our taste buds and sensibilities. Unfortunately, many of these foods are high in fat and calories and promote unhealthy living at its worst. And yet, we unwittingly error on the side of stuffing calorie after calorie into our mouths and pushing ourselves further down the fast track of the not so healthy.
So what should be done about the tantalizing commercials and calorie-rich foods?
That is not much we can do for the commercials. But we can avoid calorie-rich foods. The choice has to be made within ourselves, a conscious effort that begins with counting calories.
How do I lose weight?
It all boils down to supply and demand. When supply exceeds demand, the excess has to be stored somewhere, and that somewhere is generally on our bellies, hips, thighs, and butts. So how many calories should I consume? In general, between 1200 and 2000 calories a day is normal for the average person to maintain weight. A good rule of thumb is about ten times your body weight. So if you weigh 170 pounds, then about 1700 calories to maintain.
To lose weight, you will need to eat fewer calories than necessary to maintain. About 3500 calories represent one pound. So if we can create a 3500-calorie deficit, we should be able to lose one pound. Spread this out over a week or seven days, and you see that to lose a pound a week, you need to eat 500 fewer calories a day. So for the above example, you would have 1700 – 500 = 1200 calories a day for a weight loss of one pound per week.
Do I have to exercise if I’m eating less?
The short answer is no. However, exercise generates multiple benefits to the human body. Mainly it boosts the metabolism making it easier to burn up those fat stores from last winter. Secondly, adding exercise, both aerobic and weight-bearing, is an excellent way to reshape, re-tone, and in general, strengthen your body. Here, a good rule of thumb is about twenty minutes a day, three times a week for most individuals.
So what if I don’t want to count calories?
Count them! At least count calories for a short while, or until you meet your weight loss goal. You will discover an awareness of how much food is enough and an inert ability to select more appropriate foods. Once that awareness kicks in, you will find yourself unconsciously aware of what you’re eating and how many calories you have consumed.
What tips can be offered for losing weight?
Avoid fast foods. If you want to eat out, select a sit-down restaurant and try ordering an item from the menu that you might fix for yourself at home. Eat at home as much as possible and avoid preprocessed and frozen foods. Learn to cook and take the time to do it! Count calories and set weight loss goals. And finally, don’t be afraid of the gym, make it your friend and enjoy having a robust and healthy body.