Weight-loss basics

I remember in high school thinking how fat I was. I look back at photos of those years and wonder why? What was I looking at or comparing myself to? I looked thin! Not skinny, but certainly not overweight. I know I’m not alone in this.

Many times the opposite is true. How often do we think we look pretty good until we see a photograph of ourselves taken from the back or the side or sitting down and we think, “Holy cow. Literally ... holy cow!” Those are what we call ‘final straw’ moments. Moments when we realize we’ve only been looking in the mirror from the neck up and the expanse of our girth takes us by complete surprise. These are the moments that bring people flocking through the doors of weight loss programs across America.

So what about you? Statistically speaking, there is better than a 50% chance that you are overweight or obese. If so, there are a few basics of weight loss that will be helpful for you to understand before taking the next steps to change. Let’s start with determining your weight loss needs.

Your total daily calorie needs (your BMR) is a great number to know if you want to manage your weight, (kimbensen.com/tips/bmr-calculator). Once calculated, you can figure out how many calories you’ll need to cut. Remembering that 3,500 calories equals a pound, you just need to determine how many calories you’re willing to cut back on each day and/or how many calories you’re willing to burn in exercise each day to achieve the results you want.

For example, if someone cuts 500 calories from their diet each day, they would cut a combined 3,500 calories in a week. 3,500 calories=1 pound. That person should lose a pound per week. However, if they also decide to ADD 500 calories worth of exercise (calories burned) into their daily routine, that’s another 3,500 calories burned per week. That’s 7,000 calories, or two pounds, in a week.

These calculations and formulas are written for the average person. Individual bodies and needs vary. If you eat too many calories, you won’t lose weight. Conversely, if you cut back too much on your calories and don’t supplement with enough activity, you will burn too much lean muscle mass rather than excess fat. Your lean muscle mass is directly correlated to your metabolism. Eat too little and you will be slowing down your ability to burn calories. The best place to begin any weight loss program is with a health professional.

A final note here: All healthy weight loss programs work — until you stop doing it, that is. What we specialize in here is sticking with it. A lifestyle change can’t be instantaneous, it’s too deep for that, but it does happen. And it can happen to you.

So learn your numbers and get started on the path to good health. Once you do, put your all into making it something you will enjoy forever.