ExercisesHealth

Losing Weight by Burning Calories – but how much is right?

Most people think of going to the gym, the first thing when they want to lose weight, but they forget that what they eat is the first thing that they should look at. Weight loss is a matter of “calorie intake versus calories burned” therefore even if you continue doing exercise, but your diet is terrible, you won’t see much results. The energy found in food that is used to fuel the body is what’s called calories. They can be stored within your body as fat or converted to energy for your body. To burn the stored fat in your body, you either have to increase your physical activity or reduce your caloric intake. Reducing your caloric intake will force the body to draw reserves for energy.

What’s Basic Metabolic Rate(BMR), and does it help in weight loss?

BMR is the number of calories that are needed by the body to do essential functions like breathing, nutrient processing, cell production, circulation, protein synthesis, and ion transport. BMR and Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) are often used interchangeably, but the latter is the total calories that your body burns at rest. If you weigh more, or the higher your lean mass, the higher your BMR will be. BMR also decreases with age.

Knowledge of your daily calorie requirement for optimal health and weight loss is essential. If you want to lose fat, then you’ll need to consume fewer calories. To get your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), you multiply your BMR by your activity level. You can calculate your BMR using an online calculator or use the Mifflin-St Jeor equation or Harris-Benedict Formula.

  1. Mifflin-St Jeor Equation

This formula is most recent, and also more accurate in calculating your BMR.

  • For Men, BMR=10×weight in kg +6.25×height in cm – 5×age in years +5
  • For Women, BMR=10×weight in kg +6.25×height in cm- 5×age in years – 161

Harris-Benedict Formula

This formula is more popular, but it tends to overstate the calorie content needs by 5% due to the changing lifestyles.

  • For Men, BMR =66.5 +(13.75× weight in kg) + (5.003× height in cm) – (6.755× age in years)
  • For Women, BMR = 655.1+(9.563× weight in kg) + (1.85× height in cm) – (4.676× age in years)

After getting your BMR, you multiply your level of physical activity to determine your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

  • For sedentary lifestyle(little to no exercise), multiply your BMR by 1.2
  • For lightly active individuals (light exercise, sports 1-3 days/week), multiply your BMR by 1.375
  • For moderately active individuals (moderate exercise, sports 3-5 days /week), multiply your BMR by 1.55
  • For very active individuals (hard exercise, sports 6-7days/week), multiply your BMR by 1.725
  • For extra active individuals (hard daily exercise /sports, 2× daily exercise), multiply your BMR by 1.9

Is there an ideal weight for people?

Having an ideal weight depends on several factors, such as sex, height, fat, and muscle composition. Both males and females have different ideal weights due to different fat composition. Females have more fats on the thighs and the hips. Females who have a fat percentage between 21-24 are considered healthy, while males with a fat percentage between 14-17 are considered healthy.

To calculate your ideal weight, you can use Body Mass Index(BMI). There are many BMI calculators available online, and you’ll need to enter your weight and height. BMI categorizes people as either underweight, normal, overweight, or obese as follows:

<18.5 – Underweight

18.5 – 24.9 – Normal

25 – 29.9 – Overweight

>30 – Obese

BMI is not that accurate as it does not take into account all factors that might affect your weight, such as body fat, which is high in women, older adults, and athletes who have more muscle tissue. You can use other methods such as waist-to-hip ratio or waist-to-height ratio.

Here’s all you need to know about cutting calories and weight loss

To lose excess fat in your body, you have to create a caloric deficit. You can do this by reducing your caloric intake or by doing more exercise. To lose around 0.45kg or one pound, you need to burn 3,500 calories. Reducing your caloric intake is necessary when you want to lose a pound or two in a week. Achieving a negative calorie balance is better if you do it through a healthy diet. You can do the following to create a caloric deficit in your body and lose fat:

  • Avoid processed foods

Processed meat products such as bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and fast foods are in calories; thus, they will make you gain weight. They are also high in sodium, and some even have trans fats. You can choose to eat low-calorie but nutrient-rich foods such as oats, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

  • Cook at home

Home-cooked foods don’t contain many unhealthy ingredients like those of restaurants. Restaurant foods are often high in calories, sodium which will raise your caloric intake instead of reducing it.

  • Avoid Sweetened beverages

Sugary beverages like sods, energy drinks, fruit juices have high sugar content, which won’t make you lose fat. The sugary foods are addictive, and you can easily overeat them.

  • Drink a lot of water

Everybody loves water, but most people don’t drink the recommended daily intake of 2L (about eight glasses). You can easily replace liquid calories from unhealthy sources only by taking water instead. Water increases Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and is useful in metabolizing stored fat and carbs in your body. All these promote weight loss in the long-term.

  • Avoid beer

Beer has a lot of calories, with little to no nutrients. 1g of alcohol has seven calories, and the high consumption of beer will make you high calories, and if your level of physical activity is low, you won’t lose weight. And again, I would advise that you take water instead of beer or sip a glass of wine once in a while.

Overall for better results in your weight loss journey, you have to incorporate healthy and mindful eating with increased physical activity. Exercise more to lose that fat! You can do that by doing some home aerobics and by taking on some good habits such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, or parking your car further away than usual and therefore walking more to where you are going. Switch all your bad habit snacks into good ones, replace your soft drinks, crisps and sweets with fruit such as apples and water as your go-to drink, adding maybe a splash of fresh lemon and a leaf or two of mint to give it a refreshing taste.

Taking the stairs can be a good home aerobics exercise, and it will increase your metabolism rate. A higher rate of metabolism means that you’ll burn more calories, leading to weight loss. You can also do some jogging, cycling, walking, swimming, do yoga, weight training, and interval training, all intending to stimulate metabolism to burn calories and shed the extra fat.

How to track your calorie intake?

Tracking your calories is very important because they help you not go overboard. Tracking apps such as Calorie Counter by FatSecret, MyFitness Pal, Lose It!, and many more are some of the apps that are effective in helping you keep track of your caloric intake in foods and help you avoid the high-calorie foods which are detrimental to your weight loss journey. You can also use Food diaries to help you monitor what you’re eating—swap high-calorie foods for lower-calorie foods on your shopping list. You can also cut high-calorie but low-nutrition foods from your food list. Going to a health facility to measure lean mass is the best method to measure your BMR; thus, you can consider it when tracking your progress. You can track your workout sessions to determine how long you can exercise to burn fat. Start small, but you can increase your workout time to lose more weight and even gain muscle mass. The motivation for weight loss can come from people close to you, such as your family, relatives, classmates, and friends. Lastly, remember to eat mindfully as long-term weight loss depends on your healthy eating habits and exercising.

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