Losing weight can be daunting. It’s no wonder people don’t want to do it. It takes hard work and a lot of patience. When I was working as a nutrition counselor, many of my clients sought my help because they were desperate to lose weight. I offered them simple advice to demystify their struggle. The one’s who listened ended up succeeding and the one’s who didn’t returned to my office with little or nothing to show for their efforts.
When I counsel people on weight loss and nutrition I offer easy-to- follow advice because losing weight isn’t a complicated process. Yet, many give up along the way or regain the weight they’ve worked so hard to take off. There’s not much to losing weight, I promise. So, how do you lose weight and keep it off? Keep reading.
To start, you must determine how many calories you require to maintain your current body weight if you were to sit around all day and do nothing. The technical term for this is Resting Metabolic Rate or RMR. You don’t have to take a body fat test, although they are the most accurate in determining your RMR. But to spare you the time and effort, here’s a rough method to figure out your RMR, take your weight and multiply it by ten. Say for instance you are 150 lbs. If you multiply that by 10, your RMR would be 1500 calories. Keep in mind this is a rough estimate. If you are a muscular person with low body fat this number may be higher.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten our hypothetical RMR we must create a small calorie deficit to lose weight. It’s important to note the calorie deficit you create should be no more than 20% of your total RMR. If you eat too few calories your body will resort to your precious lean muscle to supply its lost energy. Going back to our example, a 150 lb adult with an RMR of 1500 calories would create a deficit of no greater than 300 calories. One pound is equal to 3,500 calories so in order to lose one pound, it would take approximatley 11-12 days. I know that sounds painfully slow, but trust me, the last thing you want is to lose your lean muscle. Muscle burns calories, it’s your furnace. Fat doesn’t do anything except sit around your waist, hips and thighs.
It’s important to note weight loss is not linear. In other words, some weeks you’ll drop more than a pound (especially in the beginning mainly because you are losing water) and other weeks you won’t lose anything. When your weight loss stalls, you must hang in there and not allow the scale to mess with your mind. Eventually the weight will come off. Make sure you’re eating protein, fat and starch with every meal and get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days per week.
Once you’ve lost your weight, you must maintain it. It’s much easier to lose weight than to maintain it. Your RMR decreases when your bodyweight drops. This isn’t always the case, especially if you’ve increased your lean muscle. That’s where body fat testing comes in. Assuming your lean muscle stayed the same and you lost twenty pounds and are now a svelte 130 lbs. Your new RMR would be 1300 plus any calories burned through exercise. Let’s assume you burn 150 calories on your morning jog. Add that to your RMR and you get 1450 calories. This is the amount you must consume to maintain your weight. Anything over that will get stored as fat.
So, there you go. Not complicated, right?
Keep in mind, your patience and determination will be tried and tested during this time. But nothing worthwhile comes easy. Keep going and don’t give up. You’re worth it.
For more interesting reading check out my other posts. You might like How I Eat Fast Food Without Gaining Weight.