There are two key attributes that contribute to successful weight loss, exercise and healthy eating.
Each of these attributes have different elements to consider and to make adjustments with. While sometimes these adjustments are all you need to continue to see results, you may get to a point of needing to dial in a little more for the long term or temporarily.
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How many calories are you burning?
Simply put, weight loss occurs when you consume fewer calories than you burn.
To figure out how many calories you burn a day, you need to start by calculating your resting metabolic rate (RMR). Then consider the number of calories you burn daily doing routine activities, not including formal exercise, and add that to the RMR which will give you your daily burned calories without exercise.
Next, determine how many calories you burn through exercise – a half hour of moderate intensity aerobic exercise burns around 350 calories on average and a half-hour of lifting burns around 200.
Add the calories you burn in the gym to your daily burned calories without exercise to determine how many calories on average you burn each day.
Luckily for you, we have a calorie calculator for you to use so the math is a little easier. Plus I love the bonus information that this calculator provides through verywellfit.com.
Once you know how many calories you are burning daily on average, you just need to keep your daily calorie consumption below that total to lose weight.
Seems, simple, but there is a little more that you can do to support your results.
What is a healthy rate of weight loss.
If you are trying to lose weight, a healthy, reasonable rate of weight loss is .5 to 2 pounds per week.
It scares me when I hear about people trying to lose more than that.
While adjusting the amount of calories you are consuming and increasing the amount of calories you are burning (exercise) is how you achieve weight loss.
Cutting a substantial amount of calories out of your diet or increasing your exercise substantially can be unsafe and extremely difficult to do and maintain for the long term.
Setting realistic goals that supports your health and that is more attainable will help you better achieve the results and sustain the results, as well as keep you from becoming frustrated when you don’t lose the weight as quickly as you’d hope.
Not all calories are created equal.
If you are not eating nutrient dense calories, it may even be more hard to lose the weight you are trying to lose.
What you eat plays a huge role in the amount of calories you consume. Every calorie is different.
What I mean by every calorie being different is that a gram of protein has 4 calories, a gram fat has 9 calories, a gram of carbohydrates has 4 calories and a gram of alcohol has 7 calories.
Increasing your protein intake can boost your metabolism, fight cravings, and significantly reduce appetite. This can help you lose weight and keep it off.
First, look at what you are consuming, empty calories found in candy, soft drinks, fast food and processed baked goods should be the first place you start with eliminating or minimizing these from your diet. Empty calories should be replaced with healthy foods, also known as nutrient dense foods.
Once you’ve acknowledged the types of calories you are consuming, and replaced them with healthy foods, then rather than cutting back on calories, healthy calories, consider adding exercise or additional exercise to your habits.
I suggest going from replacing the less dense calories and increasing exercise before focusing on cutting the number of calories, because many times, these are the most sustainable ways to reach your goal.
Exercise additions could include:
- A short walk burns about 100 calories
- 30-minute walk about 200 calories
- HIIT workout 300 – 400 calories
When you add this to your weekly routine, even a short walk 2 to 3 times a week would burn an additional 200 to 300 calories a week. If you aren’t increasing your calorie intake, then you would be contributing to your overall weight loss.
So where do you start?
I’m a big believer that you don’t have to dial in on how many calories you are consuming and calculate them and track them, unless you have exhausted every other option and still aren’t seeing results.
What I mean by this is that you’ve first looked at the following areas of your lifestyle:
- Have I minimized empty calories/foods in my diet and replaced them with fuel foods?
- Am I exercising at least 4 times a week? Exercising is at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity
- Do I consistently eat healthy foods 5 times a day
So what is the point of knowing how many calories you burn just sitting around?
The baseline knowledge and awareness can be beneficial as you spend more time working on your best self.
When you have this calorie information, you can make a judgement call of, should I increase my exercise routine and/or do I need to more closely monitor my calorie intake.
If you are interested in more closely monitoring your calorie intake, there are several fairly easy options to use.