What it takes to lose/gain weight

I have been inspired by a client this week to talk a little more about what it takes to put on and lose weight. 

Let's talk numbers first:
Calories in a pound (lb) of fat = 3500
If FAT was purely FAT (it is made up of other stuff too), it would take 3500 Calories, or 500 Calories per day in a 7 day week to burn a single pound (of fat). 
Average BMR (daily Calories needed to survive) of US citizens:
--Men: 1,662 (eh, probably a little higher than the reports showed for the average male)
--Women: 1,492

To lose weight: Calories OUT must be GREATER than Calories IN
That means:
- (YOUR BMR + YOUR Activity, in Calories) MUST BE GREATER than (Calories you eat)

For example: Say my BMR is 2200 and I burn about 700 calories a day form working out. I have to eat less than 2900 calories a day to lose weight. 

THIS DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD STARVE YOURSELF to lose weight. It means to take it like a staircase of calories. Start with cutting down 200 net Calories a week, then 200 Calories less the next week. This is how we prevent Yo-Yo dieting. 

The opposite is true for gaining weight.
(YOUR BMR + YOUR Activity, in Calories) MUST BE LESS than (Calories you eat)

SAME IDEA. Adding 200-400 calories to your daily regimen weekly is the best way to gain weight without getting fed up with overdoing it for a little bit and slingshotting back. Luckily, what I find happens when bulking however, is that your stomach is a good guide. Pushing a little past the point of satisfied is a good way to gauge if you're eating enough when starting to bulk. 

You might be able to tell that I am not huge on working around numbers as I find that it can be exhausting, time consuming, and due to poor measurement devices/Calorie reads, a bit imprecise anyway, but this is there for anyone that likes that type of guide. Personally, I am all about the small lifestyle changes that accumulate to weight loss and weight gain, but all ways are good! Whichever one works for you is the one that you should pursue!

Ah, that part is the (relatively) easy part. Calories in versus Calories out. Next, I want to explore the difference between eating junk food and eating healthy food when dieting/gaining weight. Additionally, exercise TYPE has a bit of a roll as well, which we have talked a little bit about, but will go into more to continue this discussion.

Fun Fact: If you are wondering why I keep capitalizing the C in Calories (not sure if I mentioned this in the past):
1 calorie = the amount of heat required at a pressure of 1 atmosphere of pressure to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degrees Celsius. 
In other words, it is a TINY amount of energy

1 Calorie = 1000 calories. We measure our food and energy consumption in the 1000s - saves a lot of zeros being written down and makes MATHS a little easier. 


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Today we take a break from the fruits and veggies and talk about Calorie requirements. While I generally think of myself as more of a lifestyle coach than a physique coach, sometimes people want to up their results and the formulas below are a good GUIDE to doing so. I encourage you to plug in your own numbers and verify that what you are eating daily fits within your BMR and calorie expenditure calculations. 

These are not perfect, but are a good way to see ballpark numbers to shoot for. 

As always, it comes down to Calories in versus Calories out.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) - Basically, the Calories required to survive (your body's Caloric needs)

To calculate (Note the differences between men and women):

Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches ) - (4.7 x age in years)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in year)

I'll throw in my numbers so you have an example:

BMR = 66 + (6.23 x 185lbs) + (12.7 x 73 in) - (6.8 x 26) = 1968.85 Calories

So, that is what my body requires on a daily basis, just based on my height, age, and weight (and now you might see where the 2,000 Calorie diet came from).

THEN you need to add in your activity requirements. So, you will simply multiply your Calories (from earlier) by whichever number fits your activity level best (yeah, I know, not the most scientific thing in the world...)

  • 1.200 = sedentary (little or no exercise)
  • 1.375 = lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week, approx. 590 Cal/day)
  • 1.550 = moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week, approx. 870 Cal/day)
  • 1.725 = very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week, approx. 1150 Cal/day)
  • 1.900 = extra active (very hard exercise/sports and physical job, approx. 1580 Cal/day)

I decided that I am 'very active'. I lift 5-6 days a week, usually pretty heavy (calculations to come in future posts), stand almost all day and walk/lift weights during sessions, and generally do my best to keep moving during the day. 

1968.85 x 1.725 = 3396.27 Calories

Does that make sense? It's a solid estimate. I would say it is a little high, but I would also say I am more in-between 'moderately active' and 'very active', so it would be right in the right area. 

I will continue the discussion of how to use this with weight loss/gain in another post - want to keep these as short and concise as possible. Have fun using MATHS again!



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