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The Skinny on Weight Loss!

Written by healthandfitness  |  28. April 2002

Do you know that the diet industry is a 30 billion dollar industry with hundreds of books describing hundreds of diets? Why are millions of people unsuccessful in their weight loss and what is the BIG SECRET? Weight loss is a simple matter of math and the formula is simple. Calories in and calories out! The more you eat, whether it's from fats, proteins, or carbohydrates, they are added to your calorie "in-box." The biggest mistake I see is that people think they can eat all the "fat-free" food they want. This is untrue. Even no-fat foods have carbohydrates that when not used by your body get stored as fat - or your "in-box"! Your expenditure of calories or your "out-box" occurs two ways. The first is the most simple and automatic. It is called BMR. BMR refers to our basil metabolic rate. This is simply the calories you burn doing your every day activities or your caloric expenditure through your every day metabolism. Did you know that we even burn calories when we sleep? Did you also know that the higher your lean muscle mass or the lower your body fat, the more calories you burn every day? This is why strength training is essential to proper weight loss. Strength training should be performed 2 to 3 times per week with one exercise/set per muscle group with about 8 to 12 repetitions per set. In addition, strength training will move more calories from your "in-box" to your "out-box." This is key to burning overall calories from your body. The body's ability to burn fat is different on each individual. The goal to fat burning is to get your body to it's fatty acid oxidation stage. This usually takes after 15 to 20 minutes of continuous exercise. If you exercise for at least 45-60 minutes, you can get 30 to 45 minutes of good fat-burning cardio going on. Keep your intensity as high as possible without sacrificing your duration.The higher your intensity, the higher overall calories you'll burn. Work at a comfortable range that is approximately 60-90% of your maximum heart rate (220- your age) or on a perceived exertion scale of 0-10 at about a 5-7. The myth of working out too high, 75% -85% of your maximum is not as efficient in burning fat as if you were working at a lower intensity of 60% -75% is partially true. The actual percentage of fat burned at the higher intensity may be lower, but probably related to the higher difference of overall caloric expenditure and is negligible. In other words, work out as hard and as long as you can for overall better caloric expenditure. Let's take a look at the scenario of Jane, a 140 lb. female. She eats approximately 1,500 calories daily and does not exercise. A women's BMR or basil metabolic rate is 10 times their body weight. However, these numbers improve when there is greater lean muscle tissue and less fat. For Jane who does not exercise, her BMR could be less because she has more fat and less muscle tissue. By the way, the BMR for a man is 12 times their body weight. Jane takes in approximately 1,500 calories each day or 10,500 calories per week. Her BMR or every day caloric expenditure is 9,800 with no exercise. By the end of the week she has accumulated 700 points in her caloric "in-box." Jane is essentially gaining 700 calories per week, and in about 5 weeks she will gain 1 lb. In a year, she will gain 10 lbs. Now, lets take a look at what happens when Jane adds exercise to her daily regiment and doesn't change her diet. Again, she takes in 1,500 calories each day or 10,500 calories per week. In her caloric "out-box" is her BMR of 9,800. Next let's say that she is working out 4 times each week with approximately 500 calories per workout, a total of 2,000 calories in her "out-box." That is a total of 11,800 calories she has used that week. In this scenario, with no diet modification, Jane is actually losing 1,300 calories per week. In about 5 weeks, she'll lose almost 2 lbs. and but the end of the year, almost 20 lbs! Let's say that Jane increases her caloric intake from 1500 to 1600 calories per week. And she works out more often. Her designed 4 times a week schedule includes 2 times doing 60 minutes of a cardiovascular workout, 2 times per week doing 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of strength training. In this scenario, Jane is eating more, exercising more, and has increased her weight loss. Why? Because she is lowering her body fat and increasing her lean muscle mass. In five weeks, she has lost more than two lbs. and after 6 months has experienced a 2% loss of body fat and 2% increase of lean muscle. This also results in an increased BMR which results in increased weight loss. Jane will lose over 25 lbs. in just one year. The big secret to weight loss is out. The goal is to do an activity or a few different ones you enjoy and try to do something on most days! This means at least three days a week and no more than six. You deserve at least one day of doing nothing! Follow these guidelines and don't go "on" a diet. This means one day you will go "off" the diet. It is proven that 99% of people who go on a diet and lose weight eventually gain it back. The goal is to just modify your lifestyle and eating habits. Enjoy life and every so often it's ok if you miss a workout or eat something extra. The overall big picture is what counts.

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