Thanks for reading part 1 of the series. I hope that you were able to gain some knowledge of some of the building blocks that goes into changing your weight. Let's dive right into how we can use the information that we learned in part 1 and what changes we can make to help reach our goals and start Feeling Your Best!
Hopefully since reading the last post you were able to find a Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) calculator that gives you some insight on your caloric needs. In this example we're going to say that our TDEE is 2500 kcals/day or 17500 kcals/week. This would be the average amount of calories that a 5’10” male in the age range of 25-55 and weighs 230 lbs who lives a sedentary lifestyle would need to maintain his current weight. (This individual would be considered to be clinically obese with a BMI of 33)
I would like to take a moment to pause before we continue and state that even if you are considered overweight, underweight, or obese that you are still a valid person, that you matter, and that any weight change that you are going for should only be done to become healthier! Do not start a weight change for others, do it for yourself!
In this example, our sample person knows that he wants to make a change to lose some of his excess weight and has decided he is committed to making that happen! He understands that the weight that he has put on over the years did not magically appear overnight and that it is unreasonable to expect it to come off magically either.
He is ready for some lifestyle changes! After looking at the results of his TDEE calculator he discovers that his Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is 2000 kcals/day or 14000 kcals/week. A full 500 kcals less per day than he is currently burning by doing what he’s doing.With this new found information he starts setting himself some goals, He wants to get his weight down to 199 lbs! What some refer to as “one-derland,” a weight that he has not been in years. He asks himself: What can I do to make that happen? He discovered that to get down to his goal weight of 199 lbs that he needs to either burn or remove 108,500 kcals. (1 lb of fat contains 3500 kcals of energy)
So he starts playing around with his TDEE calculator and discovers that by adding some light exercise into his daily routine he is able to increase his TDEE to 2750 kcals/day and if he increases his exercise to moderate he is able to increase his TDEE up to 3000 kcals/day! A full 500 kcals more than what his body requires to maintain his weight if he continues living his life as he currently does! Realistically this equates to 1 lb a week just by adding about 30 minutes of exercise 3-4x/week or 0.5 lbs a week with 1-2 days of exercise without changing his diet (assuming he is eating the 2500 kcals/day that he requires to maintain).In terms of days he realizes that he could potentially lose 31 lbs in just a month!
But not so fast!
As you lose weight your energy needs change and you cannot keep using the same numbers! The less you weigh, the less energy it takes to maintain the weight that you are! So what does that mean? It means that even though you are doing everything right you’re not seeing the results that you want because you’re thinking in the present/past and not the future.
What can we do to plan ahead?
We can use the TDEE calculator to our advantage here but we need to use it the right way! What we do is we use the TDEE calculator to set our requirements, not to what we are currently, but to where we want to be! Moving back to the goal of 199 lbs we discover that at this weight (199 lbs) his BMR would be 1850 kcals/day and his TDEE with light exercise would be 2500 kcals/day, and moderate exercise would be 2750 kcals/day. In other words at his current weight of 230 lbs he requires (on average) only light exercise (1 hour/week) to burn 2750 kcals/day but would need to perform moderate exercise (2 hours/week) to burn 2750 kcals/day at his goal weight. And in further other terms, He would have to increase his exercise from 1 hour/week to 2 hours/week to achieve the same results in the long term.
So let’s look at these numbers again to get a better idea of what our sample person could be realistically expecting in terms of progress by adding just 2 hours of exercise per week to his current lifestyle with no other interventions taking place. Our sample person, if eating 2500 kcals/day (his current kcal requirement to maintain 230 lbs) and exercising for 2 hours/week would be looking at an effective decrease of 250 kcals/day or 1750 kcals/week over the course of his weight loss journey. Which equates to an effective -0.5 lb change/week. With this kind of change to reach his goal weight would take around 62 weeks to achieve, or 1 year, 2 months, and 2 weeks in plain terms with no other interventions taking place. (Note that exercise is broken down into 30 minute units and exercise that increases your heart rate to 60% of max, some examples of this would be a light jog, a strength training routine, swimming, or hiking on a moderate incline. A leisurely stroll or walking a pet would not fall under the category of an exercise unit and to achieve the same results a longer duration would have to occur.)
That is a long time and most people would get discouraged way before then when trying to reach their goals! I would like to note that this is if we were to plot the weight loss in a linear fashion. In reality the weight loss would be more akin to a curve where the weight loss would be greater in the beginning of his journey and would gradually take longer and longer amounts of time as his weight decreases.
When making these types of exercise changes it is important to ALWAYS look at data of where you would like to be and not just where you are currently. This goes for both gaining and losing the weight. The most important thing to consider when making a change in your weight is CONSISTENCY! Making changes that you can stick to is the real key to long term success! In our next post we will continue on with the other levers that can be pulled to help you achieve your goals and help you start Feeling Your Best!