Put balance into the equation

Written by Josh Hoodless

Eating healthy and exercising but can’t lose weight?

Here’s something you might not know! Healthy food contains calories! ‘Junk food’ contains calories. A calorie is just a unit of measurement for energy. How many calories does YOUR body need? How do you burn fat from your body and what does that have to do with the food we eat?

You walk everyday so that counts as exercising, right? Maybe not. Is it strenuous? If it’s not, then it isn’t exercise. Walking is great for your brain, joints, muscles, and any movement is better than no movement so keep walking. Ok maybe you do a crazy hour of high intensity training at the gym and your smart watch says you’ve burnt 1000 calories.

It was great exercise for your heart, lungs and muscles but unfortunately smart watches have been proven to over calculate calorie burn by 40-80%. That’s fine because you did the workout to be fitter and look after your body right? Or did you do it to work off that bowl of chocolate ice cream you ate last night?

Guys, you can still eat ice-cream and not need to destroy yourself at the gym the next day.

Still confused on what to eat and how to exercise? We are going to give you the realistic and sustainable way to lose unwanted body fat.

Here’s an interesting example. A new client of ours mentioned that he had gained 14kg of fat in the last three years.

We were able to calculate that he had consumed approximately 100 calories too much each day (on average) for those three years (7700 surplus calories = 1kg body fat). That’s equivalent to one of the beers he enjoyed or even a medium banana. That’s all it took.

Ok, how do we work it out for you?

Firstly, let’s calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is what your body needs to remain at the same level.

There are several formulas based on gender, height, weight (both total weight or total lean muscle weight) and age.

It can get confusing. I used a few different formulas (go online and use free BMR calculators) and the average result was approx 1850 calories for me. We now have to take my activity level in to account during the week. If you don’t exercise and have an office job, I wouldn’t worry about using an activity multiplier.

Anyway, we will say I’m a light to moderate exerciser and my job is quite active on my feet all day. I use 1.375 (activity multiplier) x 1850cal to get my average energy requirements.

I therefore need 2543 cals a day to stay the same weight/size. If I want to lose weight, I need to make sure I’m eating less than that. How much less?

My goal is to lose five kilograms of fat and I want to do it fairly slowly while preserving my lean muscle mass. If I eat 400 calories less per day (2143cal) it will end up taking me around 96 days to achieve it … that’s if I succeed for 96 days in a row. If I have a big weekend, it might take me 102 days to get there etc.

I’m not here to tell you what to eat or what is or isn’t healthy. I eat very healthy meals and then I sometimes enjoy a very unhealthy meal. We could all make healthier choices. I would love everyone to know the science, simple mathematics, and truth of energy consumption when eating and drinking.

67% of the Fraser Coast is overweight. Most of us eat too much! It’s not the frequency of meals or the size of meals, it’s the total amount of calories in the whole day.

Obesity is a serious health issue not just in our community but our country. It doesn’t matter if it’s fat, carbs, protein, or alcohol. It’s about consuming any or all of these things in excess. Simple thermodynamics can solve this issue!

The difficult part is knowing the amount of calories in the food we eat and adding it up each day. Educate yourselves and your children. Use free online calorie tracking tools.

If you are interested in losing weight, calculate your calorie needs and make sure you eat a bit less than you need.

If you’re exercising, find the type of exercise you enjoy and do it for its own sake. Here’s a tip: Do not punish yourself with exercise and do not reward yourself after exercise with junk food. Do the exercise because it’s good for you and eat the junk food cause it’s delicious and won’t make you go over your calories for the day.

Stay tuned for further articles discussing macronutrients (Carbohydrates, fats, proteins) in more depth and how they relate to different goals. Now get out there and do some math, get your calories correct, eat mostly healthy and enjoy your exercise!