Weight Loss 101

weight-loss-scaleYou can balance your energy intake (calories eaten) and energy expenditure (calories burned) in various ways, depending on your goals. There are three possible situations:

1. Your intake is greater than your expenditure. Result: weight gain.
2. Your intake equals your expenditure. Result: your weight remains steady.
3. Your intake is less than your expenditure. Result: weight loss.

The most effective way to lose weight is to regulate your energy intake by calculating and controlling the calories in the food you eat so that you consume fewer calories than you expend.
6 Reasons to Count Calories

* Losing weight through calorie counting is relatively easy.
* Calorie counting raises your awareness of what you eat.
* Weight loss through counting calories is a long-term and healthy option.
* Counting calories takes less time and effort than any fad diet.
* Counting calories is flexible enough to fit into most lifestyles.
* Dieting by counting calories means there are no forbidden foods.

Reduce Intake – By How Much?

Naturally, most people want to know how quickly they can lose their excess weight. Here are some simple calculations. Excess weight is excess body fat. There are 3,500 calories in a pound of body fat. This means that to lose a pound (453.6 g) a week, each day you have to burn 500 calories more than you take in (3,500 calories : 7 days = 500 calories). An increase in daily exercise for example with a set of resistance bands or activity combined with this reduction of energy intake will increase your energy deficit further and so result in faster weight loss.

However, you should never reduce your daily caloric intake by more than 1,000 calories per day without medical supervision. If you try to lose more than 0.5-1.0 lb per week, your body will go into starvation mode and will begin to sacrifice your muscle tissue for energy instead of your excess fat. Muscle tissues have an important energy burning role in weight loss and burn a lot of food calories. Loss of muscle tissue will make it more difficult to reduce weight and fat may replace the lost muscle when the starvation period ends. A more realistic goal is to aim at a calorie deficit of about 500-1,000 calories a week resulting in a slower but steadier weight loss. Your target weight may then be maintained by eating sensibly and exercising regularly.
Caution

Reducing your caloric intake drastically can produce adverse effects:

1. If caloric consumption is too low and weight loss is too rapid, your muscle mass will be broken down for energy.
2. Your metabolic rate will begin to drop (typically) after 3 days of very low caloric intake. This means that although you are eating less your body is not burning as many calories as usual. You may even start putting on weight!
3. A very low calorie diet will lead to impaired brain function, sluggishness, fatigue, irritability and nutritional deficiency.

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