Monday, June 20, 2011

How do I lose weight?

.We had actual snow storms this past winter, tornado season was horrific, no one doubted that we were in for quite the summer. These temperatures with a 104 degree heat index isn't quite summer yet...

Summer solstice 2011 starts TOMORROW! It will officially be 'summer in the South USA' meaning the 98 degree temps and 104 heat index becomes the norm if not the (whisper) lows.

It means taking extra precaution for the dangerous 100 degree temperatures, accepting the obvious: that you will break a sweat walking from the front door to your car, and choosing the right sunscreen. (GMA news link)

Summer also brings the extra pressure of choosing a swimsuit... meaning the added pressure of weight loss.. 
Whether you want to lose the last 5 or 10 lbs. or you need to lose weight to be in the "healthy zone", the answers are all the same... lifestyle change.
Nobody wants temporary weight loss, you want to stay in that new size ___ outfit for the foreseeable future! I am no expert and I struggle like everyone else. What advice and information that I am about to share comes straight from research and "live and learn" experience.

Permanent weight loss means that you need to burn enough calories to make a significant impact. Notice that I did not say you need to starve yourself to make a significant impact... burn means you have to work it off.

To calculate how many calories you need to burn, you will need to calculate your BMR (the amount of calories your body needs to maintan basic body functions like digestion and breathing) plus calculate the calories you burn with activity. Take this total and subtract your food calories. In order to burn one pound a week, you need to create a 3,500 calorie deficit.

If you are sitting there with a "do what?" look on your face, join my club

... moments like this are when I am most thankful for my super smart husband who was able to translate... here is what he said:
"You have to start with your daily calorie expenses. On any given day, as long as you are breathing, your body burns a set amount of calories based on your weight, height, age, and body composition (very individually specific). This set amount of calories is the expenditure mentioned above. 
You have your expenses (the expenditure) and you have your calorie income (food calories) whatever the difference is equals your debt. Your debt has to be re-payed from energy supplies already in your body. *losing weight is balancing your financial account in a way that is exact opposite of what you would do with your money --you want higher expenses and $0 in your ATM. (*The more active you are, the more expenses) To figure out your expenditure, follow link to Mifflin-St. Jeor's predictive equation for resting energy expenditure in healthy individuals. This calculation isn't perfect, because everyone is different, but it is a good starting point. If you aren't losing weight after a few weeks, than eat less calories.  
Make this make sense: if Sue's expense (what she burns chemically without anything else) is 1400 calories and her income (food calories) is  1400 than she has zero debt. Sue will/should not lose weight or gain weight. If Sue wants to lose weight then she needs to workout (cardio+weights) at least 40 minutes for 5-6 days a week. If Sue wants to gain weight then she needs to eat more.
Bob's expense is 2,000 calories and his income is 3,000 calories. He has a 1,000 calorie surplus... meaning he would need to burn 1,000 calories a day to maintain his current weight. (that is running around 10 miles a day) or eat a lot less an exercise 5-6 times a week to lose weight.
There are tons of articles, studies, and several terrific sources of weight loss information out there. The easiest to read version that I found is: Fitness for Dummies.
 (If you walk at a steady, fast pace for 30 minutes, you will burn approximately 100 calories when following the 100 calorie per mile rule of thumb. This means that to burn 1 pound of fat a week, you would have to walk 2 hours a day! - not going to happen in the life of an average American) Good news is that you can combine continuous exercise with healthy eating habits to burn that 3,500 calories and do it all without taking away from your already hectic schedule.