When it comes to the easy and hard things in life, unfortunately gaining weight is often “a piece of cake.” But as millions of Americans will tell you, long term weight loss is way more difficult than it sounds. Fortunately, fad diets and “miracle” weight loss pills have given way to eating better and exercising more. And yet America is still plagued by an unparalleled epidemic of obesity.
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
It’s not that our bodies are incapable of maintaining a healthy weight. The problem is that we’ve been going about it the wrong way. The human body is an amazing biochemical laboratory, capable of doing all kinds of amazing things to the betterment of our health. And so the key to tapping into our body’s ability to shed unhealthy fat and not gain it back is to take a scientific approach to losing weight. With that in mind, here’s a look at the science behind long-term weight loss.
Successful long term weight loss can be expressed scientifically in one simple sentence
Calories burned must be greater than calories consumed.
Calories are units of energy that provide the energy our bodies require to carry out normal functions. It’s science, but it’s not rocket science. Anyone who has ever been on a diet knows that in order to lose weight we need to expend more energy (burn more calories) than we take in. The challenge lies in figuring out how many calories you can ingest to achieve safe and healthy weight loss. And this is where some basic mathematical calculations enter the picture:
Basal Metabolic Rate or (BMR) is the first calculation you should make. Your BMR has to do with the amount of energy (expressed in calories) that your body needs to perform its normal functions. Think of your BMR as the number of calories your body would burn if you sat on the couch all day. No two people have the same BMR. It’s a function of your height, weight, age and gender. As you age your BMR decreases, making it more difficult each year to eat the same number of calories without gaining weight. An article on the health and fitness site dailyburn.com explains how to calculate your BMR.
Your Activity Factor is the next calculation that comes into play. Obviously you are not lying on the couch or in bed all day. So you need to factor in your level of daily activity to get a read on how many calories your body is actually burning each day. Factoring in a range of numbers from 1.2, which designates doing pretty much nothing all day, to a level of 1.9, which designates being very active on the job and working out nearly every day, your activity factor is determined by multiplying your BMR number by your activity level number. That number represents the number of calories you need each day to maintain your current weight at your current level of activity.
The number of calories to subtract from your diet each day to lose a healthy one pound of fat in one week is the final calculation you need to make. You must burn 3500 calories to shed one pound of fat. To do that in one week you simply divide 3500 by 7 to arrive at the number of calories you must subtract from your diet each day—500.
Here are some healthy weight loss tips to help you do just that—and keep the weight off long term.
Drink plenty of water
Proper hydration keeps cellular metabolism working more optimally, so you’ll burn fat more efficiently. In addition, drinking water throughout the day helps curb your appetite.
Don’t skip breakfast
Skipping breakfast can actually fool your body into thinking that it’s in “starvation mode”, which can result in a reduction of your metabolic rate. Eating breakfast—especially a high protein breakfast–can keep your body in ketosis—fat burning mode—throughout the morning. Studies show that people who skip breakfast have a much higher risk of becoming obese and developing adult onset diabetes.
Eat fresh unprocessed foods
Processed foods typically lose much of their nutritional value. Make sure that eating less means eating healthier by focusing on a balanced diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean protein.
Eating fewer calories can lead to nutritional deficiencies, even when you are eating fresh unprocessed foods. Taking high quality nutritional supplements that your body can actually use—such as those produced by companies such as Nu Skin, can help boost your immune system and contribute to your general health and well being.
Graze throughout the day
Your body was never meant to conform to a rigid 3 meals a day regimen. Eating healthy snacks throughout the day, such as carrots or a handful of almonds, is a good way to keep your energy levels up and your appetite down. Plus you’ll burn more calories throughout the day.
These and other tips can go a long way in helping you to finally lose fat for the long term.
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