Losing weight can be a battle for many, but understanding the maths of calories is important
Get moving: Weight loss through diet and exercise is the kind that will last
As a personal trainer I regularly hear from people about the struggle that is losing weight. I sometimes feel people are lost and overwhelmed, like they are fighting a losing battle.
Oftentimes I hear people ask: "I don't understand, I was so good this week, how did I not lose weight?"
This frustration can lead to people throwing in the towel, when really what is missing is true understanding of how it all actually works – how to lose one pound of body fat.
Losing weight is one of the simplest and yet most difficult things to do; the science behind it is simple; doing it is the difficult part.
Let me first show you how one pound is lost and maybe this will help you decipher the puzzle that is the world of weight loss.
Ok, let's get the left side of our brains working. One pound of body fat equals 3,500 calories. In order to lose one pound of body fat per week, you have to burn or cut out 3,500 calories from your diet per week.
In essence, you must have a calorie deficit of 500 calories per day (500 calories x 7 days = 3,500). This means you burn or cut out 500 calories more than you eat each day. The easiest way to do that is to cut and burn; cut 250 calories from your diet and burn 250 through exercise. It is as simple and as difficult as that!
A dictionary definition of calories is "a unit of heat, formerly defined as the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1C under standard conditions".
Is this a lot of gobbledygook? It is for most, so here's a simpler explanation; calories are a way to measure energy – they are the fuel that keeps your body going.
If losing weight is your goal – and if you want this badly – then becoming familiar with calories is really important.
You shouldn't necessarily count every calorie you eat as this can turn healthy eating into an overwhelming, obsessive, and time-consuming task that will drive you nuts!
However, being aware of calories and having some knowledge about the foods that are low in calories (fruit, veggies, lean protein like fish, meat, chicken, and non-processed, whole foods) and what foods are high in calories is important so that you can make healthy selections when shopping or dining out.
I feel many of you are frustrated and losing hope when it comes to slimming down and by simply becoming more in tune with the food you put into our body will help you feel more in control.
Couple this with exercise and the knowledge of what it is you are doing and why, and you are on your way to weight loss success!
Remember, whatever form of exercise you have chosen, it is so important to know that what you are doing is conducive to your health and fitness plan. Speak to a trainer for help in tailoring a program specifically for you.
Here are some tips to help you create that 500 calorie deficit in your day without feeling hungry and exhausted.
HOW TO CUT 100 CALORIES FROM YOUR DIET
• Skip your morning bagel or muffin in favour of one slice of wholewheat toast topped with one tablespoon of low fat spread.
• Substitute mustard for mayo on your sandwich.
• Flavour your coffee with cinnamon or nutmeg rather than sugar.
• Use low-fat milk rather than full fat.
• Fill omelettes, pittas and wraps with veggies like tomato, onion and mushroom rather than cheese.
• Trim the fat from your beef, pork, and chicken.
• Eat your chicken skinless rather than with the skin on.
• Satisfy your craving for dessert with a bite or taste rather than a full portion.
• Swap soft drinks for sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange.
• When dining out, leave the bread and rolls in the bread basket.
• Always opt for a small portion when asked, steer clear of super sizing always!
• If you're having a beer, go for the light option.
• Choose a handful of fresh fruit instead of dried fruit.
• Don't top salads with croutons.
• Dress salads with balsamic vinaigrette.
• Choose low-fat frozen yoghurt over ice cream.
• Eat sandwiches and burgers "open" instead of having two slices of bread.
HOW TO BURN 100 CALORIES THROUGH EXERCISE
• Interval training; alternate jogging and walking for 20 minutes.
• Brisk walk for 30 minutes.
• Spin/cycle for 30 minutes at a moderate pace.
• Approximately one hour of housework.
• 35 minutes of power yoga.
• Do 25 minutes of circuit training.
When it comes to losing weight, stay away from the fad diets and quick fixes, stick to the basics. You now know what it takes to lose one pound per week.
Always remember that slow and steady wins the race.
Rapid weight loss usually doesn't last for long so it is best to take small steps to cut and burn calories through healthy diet and regular exercise.