Saturday, August 10, 2013
Okay everyone. Time to get back to basics. I get a lot of questions about how long it takes to lose weight and the answer to this will vary greatly between individuals. Many of you know but continue to deny the true fact of the matter and that is, it takes work which comes from maintaining a "sensible" diet, a fairly rigorous exercise regimen, and consistency with both of these factors over a significant duration of time. So here areÂ some facts to keep things in perspective:
1. In order toÂ lose 1 pound in a week, you need to create about a 3500 calorie deficit in a week's time either with diet or exercise or a combination of the two. The tricky part comes in with metabolic adjustments during weight loss and the type of weight you are actually losing such as muscle vs fat. Another confounding variable is introduced if you are a chronic dieter and are eating so few calories already that you metabolism has suffered by way of down regulating itself over time. Also, reduction in water retention which naturally occurs during weight loss will also lower total body weight. However, to put this in a simpler perspective for the sake ofÂ this basic discussion, a high intensity 1 hour weight training and 30 minute cardio workout will burn about 500-700 for an average individual. So I am sure you have done the math, you would need to do this about 5-6 times a week for a 1 pound weight loss. So 10 pounds? 10 weeks. 1-2 pound weight loss a week is a good, safe, and usually permanent rate for most provided that the new diet and activity becomes a lifestyle.
2. Calories add up! Remember you are trying to create a caloric deficit so say about 1/2 that will come from calorie restriction and the other half comes from exercise. Based on a 3500 calorie deficit goal, you will need to restrict approximately 1750 calories from your food each week to lose 1 pound. A bite of cake or cookie or piece of chocolate or 10 french fries or 1/4 of a bag of snack sizeÂ chips could be as much as 50 calories each. Say youÂ nibble 2 times a day (100 calories) for 7 days, that isÂ 700 calories or approximately 1 highly intense hour and a half gym routine with weights and cardio and it was "just a couple bites here and there" you might say! If all other things stay constant, you might see a Â½ pound weight loss for the week with those seemingly insignificant nibbles.
3. Use a good online calorie counter to save your sanity. I recommend www.fitday.com . This is a very user friendly application with lots of helpful tracking features for macro and micronutrients, hydration, weight loss, and more. The best part, it is free!
4. Stay hydrated and eat quality foods with ample fiber (minimum 25g per day) to keep things moving and avoidÂ artificial sweeteners, colorings or other additives to help relieve water retention and otherÂ physiological responses that can impede weight loss.
5. Be patient! This stuff takes time andÂ dedication. Every bit of improvement is one giant step towards a healthier and more fit and active lifestyle for you.Â Â The information above is a guide to help identify basic strategies for creating caloric deficits. The mental focus should be balanced, not obsessive. And sometimes the scale doesnâ??t change on a weekly basis. Sometimes gaining lean muscle will make your weight seem like it is at a plateau but your body may take a firmer and smaller shape during this time. Be honest with yourself, seek professional guidance to work through all the nuances that are you as a unique individual, and you will see results.
*It is recommended toÂ consult with a health care professional regarding your individual weight loss needs and the safest/most effective ways to incorporate diet and exercise into your lifestyle.