You MUST Understand This One Thing If You Want To Lose Weight
One thing that holds true in weight management is Energy Balance. Simply put, if you burn more energy than your body absorbs, you will lose weight. To do this, you can either consume less energy (eat fewer calories) or burn more energy (be more active). Most weight-loss plans recommend doing both.
What is a calorie?
A calorie is a unit of energy. When we refer to calories in food, we are actually referring to kilocalories, or kcals. (For simplicity’s sake, from here on out we will use the term “calories” to mean “kcals.”)
The number of calories that you burn in a day is known as your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). Your TDEE consists of three main components:
1. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): the number of calories your body burns just to keep you alive and functioning, at rest. Measuring your metabolic rate is how we determine what is the right number of calories for your body - for your metabolism.
A number of factors contribute to your RMR including weight, age, gender, genes, fitness and muscle mass meaning it can vary considerably between individuals. This is why while you may calculate your RMR with a calculator, they are notoriously unreliable, therefore an RMR test is the only accurate method to determine your metabolic rate. Your RMR accounts for about 60-70% of the total calories you burn in a day making it the most important component to get right.
Are you fast or slow?
Many studies have been done to determine what is an “average” or “normal” metabolism based on your age, height, weight, and sex. If you have a “FAST” metabolic rate your body burns MORE calories than average - which is good. If you have a “SLOW” metabolic rate your body burns FEWER calories than average making it more difficult to lose weight.
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The other 30-40% of your TDEE comes from your physical activity, which we split into exercise and none exercise activity.
2. None-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): the number of calories you burn through everyday activities such as talking, fidgeting, and walking. When you move your body burns energy. The more you move the more energy you burn. Your activity during the day is the biggest part of your body’s energy output that you have control over. Daily activity will generally account for burning more calories than from exercise as it spreads across the whole day. Even the simplest activities can double the rate at which your body burns energy. Whether doing household jobs, playing with your kids, or taking the stairs instead of the escalator or lift, simple activities are the key to tipping the scales of energy balance in your favour.
3. Exercise activity thermogenesis (EAT): the number of calories you burn through purposeful exercise. Many people are surprised by how few calories are burned when they exercise. Don’t make the mistake of rewarding yourself with food when you exercise - the calories you burn may only add up to ½ of a chocolate bar! However, exercise is important to increase your lean body mass (i.e. muscles - the calorie burning part of your body). Proper exercise will also help you increase calorie burn during and after exercise.
Creating a calorie deficit to lose weight
When we eat and drink more calories (energy) than we use up, our bodies store the excess as body fat. This is called a 'calorie surplus'. If this continues, over time we may put on weight. Conversely, if you can eat and drink less calories (energy) than you use, over time you will lose weight. This is called a 'calorie deficit'.
Creating a calorie deficit is the key to weight loss. By consuming fewer calories than your body burns in a day, you force your body to tap into its fat stores for energy to help with weight loss. To create a calorie deficit, you can reduce your calorie intake, increase your physical activity, or do both.
However, as discussed in previous posts. Creating the correct calorie deficit is a balancing act of nott eating too little vs eating too much. By eating too little you increase hunger, lose lean muscle mass and slow down your metabolism. Conversely, if you eat too much then you will gain weight.
Manage your Calorie Intake by tracking your food - Follow the nutritional guidelines and Target Daily Calories recommended to you. Your diet is the most important thing to get right if weight loss is your goal.
Increase Your Activity - This is the best way to affect what you burn. Simple things add up. Make a conscious effort to move more. Studies have show that women who use a pedometer lose more weight.
Use cardio the right way. Cardio can be an effective tool to help you lose weight, IF done correctly. It can also provide you with a host of health benefits.
Focus on Lean Body Mass - Muscle is key if you want to improve your shape ('tone up'), increase the amount of carbohydrates you can eat and preserve your metabolic rate. This means you should focus on keeping protein high and including some sort of resistance (weights) training into your plan. Studies have shown that a high protein diet and resistance training can help keep muscle mass when in a calorie deficit.
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