Over 40 million individuals worldwide are obese, meaning one is 20 percent over his/her ideal body weight. A huge factor in this equation is the lack of knowledge about weight loss, and what is effective for a safe weight loss to occur. Unfortunately, there is also a wealth of information and mis-information out there regarding weight loss which can be confusing for many. Weight loss requires determination, effort, and commitment but the process can be made simple and easy for most people to understand.
An individual gains weight by consuming more calories than he/she is burning. In order to lose weight it is necessary to create a calorie deficit, calories consumed needs to be less than calories burned. If 3500 calories, which is equal to one pound of fat, are deducted from one’s diet, there will be a result of a one pound weight loss over the course of a week. One should strive for a 1-2 pound weight loss per week for a safe, slow, and steady decrease in body weight. A common misunderstanding is the desire to lose a large amount of weight in a short period of time, and thinking this is healthy.
Weight gain does not occur over a short period of time, and therefore should not be lost quickly. The body wants to stay in homeostasis, maintain its current internal state (current weight). Therefore if the weight is lost very quickly, the body cannot adjust properly to such a dramatic loss, and will do whatever it can to hold on to calories to go back towards maintaining homeostasis, one’s previous weight. Losing weight gradually allows the body to adjust and better maintain the loss in body weight.
As mentioned above, it is necessary to create a calorie deficit to lose weight, but it is possible to create an unhealthy calorie deficit. This means an adult taking in less than 1200 calories per day is consuming too few calories to support the individual’s daily activities, never mind exercise. A deficit of 500-1,000 calories is a safe deficit to lose 1-2 pounds per week, and have enough energy for daily activities and exercise (American Dietetic Association). With such a severe decrease in calories, one’s body goes into starvation mode. This is when the body knows it is not getting enough calories so it starts to conserve energy by storing all of the calories coming in, not allowing one to shed excess weight. If Biofit reviews this deficit is continued, the body will eventually begin to breakdown one’s muscles and use them as energy. This is why it is strongly discouraged going below 1200 calories per day.
Contrary to consuming too few calories, taking in too many calories because one thinks he/she is exercising vigorously and needs the extra calories, also creates weight gain. This is why it is important to calculate the number of calories a person burns throughout the day including exercise. This number of calories should not be increased if one is trying to lose weight.
If one is exercising vigorously, such as at a marathon or triathlon, then it is very important to fuel and refuel the body properly before and after each exercise session. In order for one to work hard and put in all of his/her effort into the workout to burn as many calories as possible, there needs to be fuel (food) in the body before starting the workout. Thus a pre-workout meal is very important in the weight loss process. After exercise one’s metabolism is at its highest, meaning it is capable of burning the most calories, and should be refueled immediately after a workout session to be prepared for the next one. This will ensure the body will not break down muscle to replenish what was lost through exercise. The pre and post workout meals, however, need to be within one’s calorie allotment for the day.
The importance of calorie consumption should not be overlooked when it comes to weight loss. The amount of calories coming in need to be less than the amount of calories being expended; this will allow for weight loss to occur. A slow and steady weight loss is most effective for losing and maintaining one’s weight loss. A dramatic cut in calories is an ineffective method of weight loss causing the body to enter starvation mode. A large increase in calories due to exercise is also not recommended as it will cause weight gain. A very effective way to jumpstart one’s weight loss is through a retreat, with proper pre and post workout meals throughout the day. With this knowledge in hand, along with determination, effort, and commitment, the rate of obesity will no longer be on the rise.