Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Mathematics of Weight Loss

For awhile I was using an on-line calorie and exercise counter. The best part was completing the day's entry and the program calculated how much you would weigh in five weeks if you continued the pattern of that day.  The affect of the goal being posted and completed (the weight lost) was very encouraging and motivating. However, each time I used the site for a few days, I had major computer issues causing shut down and sometimes loss. Perhaps coincidence, but I decided it wasn't worth the risk of losing my computer's capabilities and storage.

As an alternative, I tried to find a way to calculate the same information. In order to lose one pound of body fat, you must accumulate a 3,500 calorie deficit between the calories you burn and the calories you eat. That means, for the 45 pounds I have lost, I have decreased my calories, increased my exercise and earned a deficit of 157,500 calories.  Wow.

The goal is not really weight loss, but loss of body fat.  That is accomplished by building muscle, which increases the metabolism which burns more calories in everyday life.  As I increase my exercise level and build muscle, I burn more calories, and can figure a projected loss of body fat each week. Simplified (with lots of other factors, this is really over-simplified and unscientific), if I eat 1500 calories and burn 600 calories (400 kickboxing and 200 walking - both low estimates) I can be sure to continue losing fat.

The exercise allows (and requires) me to eat more, think more about nutrition and health when I eat, and feed the muscle for strength and fitness. The days we do the longer kickboxing sessions we notice an increase in our appetites, and have to compensate for the energy burned.  Emotional factors are tricky - not eating what I feel like or if I need some munchies, or worse, I deserve a treat because I [whatever].  They end up being just excuses.  For me, that is the value of a mathematical perspective.  Am I eating more than I should?  Exercising less than I should?  What are the facts, and choose accordingly.

 A helpful guideline is WIWM.  What I Want More. 
Do I want the fitness and health and strength, or do I want the candy or extra helping or Starbuck's Java Chip Frappuccino (sigh...). And, more often than I would like to admit, I do choose the goodies.
The formula, wisely applied, will result in weight loss and health and strength and confidence.

This information is from Turbo Fire, Turn Up the Burn, Chalene Johnson, Beachbody.

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