The goal of weight management is to prevent the accumulation of excess fat or to reduce the level to avoid health issues and developing certain diseases. There are other reasons that we as humans, would like to loose excess body fat. It may be to drop a dress size, fit into a certain outfit or for an up coming event such as a holiday. To achieve our goals we embark on certain food fads or calorie restricting diets looking for answers. But lets try to break this cycle and look at the simple maths of maintaining or loosing weight and what is required for a lifetime of weight management.
Lets start with the basic facts of weight loss. Your body will loose excess fat if you consume less energy (food) than your body uses. So if you eat 500 calories less per day than you need, that's 3,500 calories a week. This is equal to the calorific value of one pound of body fat......... a GUARANTEED weight lose without following any strict calorie controlled diet or extreme exercise programme. Easy right???
So how can we apply this simple maths to our every day life and either maintain or loose weight. Firstly we have to understand how much energy our body needs to maintain a healthy weight and the actions we need to take to implement a lifetime of weight management. The method to calculate your daily calorific intake is the "Harris Benedict Equation". This equation will give you the calories you will require per day to maintain your current weight.
Male calories per day = 66 + (13.7 x weight kg) + (5 x height cm) - (6.8 x age)
Female calories per day = 655 + (9.6 x weight kg) + (1.8 x height cm) - (4.7 x age)
This is the calorific intake for the body to just accomplish its basic functions or what is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR). Multiply this figure by your daily activity levels.
Sedentary (minimal or no exercise) BMR x 1.2
Lightly active (light exercise 1 to 3 times a week) BMR x 1.375
Moderately active (moderate exercise 3 to 5 times a week) BMR x 1.55
Very active (hard exercise 6 to 7 times a week) BMR x 1.725
Extra active (very hard exercise 6 to 7 times a week)
or a very physical job) BMR x 1.9
For example: a female weighing 65kg of height 172cm and age 45, walks 30 minutes 3 times a week.
655 + (9.6 x 65) + (1.8 x 172) - (4.7 x 45)
655 + 624 + 309.6 - 211.50 = 1377.10 x (lightly active BMR) 1.375 = 1894
To maintain a healthy weight, the calorific intake consumed per day will be 1894 calories.
To loose one pound of body fat per week is to create a daily deficit of 500 calories (1894 - 500 calories) = 1394.
To loose any weight in a healthy fashion is to combine the 500 calorie deficit between food and exercise. For example decrease your calorific intake by 250 calories and become more active by burning the other 250 calories. Combining good food choices with increased activity.
To increase your activity level does not mean that you have to join a gym or take part in the latest exercise class....you just have to move more and be more active than sedentary. Instead of sitting on the coach all evening after your working day, use this time to do something more energetic. Perhaps half an hour walk in the park 3 times a week or work on an activity you enjoy, such as gardening. The following table illustrates various activities that will easily burn those extra 250 calories.
Using a food and exercise diary will track everything that you eat and any additional activities added to your day. By deducting the calories you have burnt during your additional daily activities from the food you have consumed, will not only improve your health and fitness levels but help you make any changes to improve your weight loss or weight maintenance .