Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Welcome back and happy kickoff to summer! Now that Memorial Day has passed, we are in full summer mode. Pretty sure most of our nation was under a slight heat wave this weekend, so I'm guessing swimsuits came out and many of you were soaking up the sun and cooling off in the water. I hope everyone took some time to think about where they are in their fitness journey, and maybe even wrote down some goals. Goals are good, I like goals, they give us a destination to work toward. With that being said, what I want to help teach you is not truly about setting goals and achieving them, but building a knowledgeable foundation to make changes to your lifestyle. So often goals are met, then what???? Many people struggle MAINTAINING their hard work, and I don't think I would be too far off to say the getting the weight off and getting in shape is sometimes the easy part, the hard part is staying in shape. It is honestly a lifelong process that you need to understand and be very patient with for yourself. As much as everyone would LOVE to just drop 10, 20, 30, 50 pounds in a few weeks, it's not only terribly unhealthy, but seldom does it teach you the basics.
So I'm going to be straight to the point and simple here. Regardless of what all of those weight-loss salesmen, or social media ads tell you. so you buy into their latest and greatest new trend, there is 1 single and simple rule to drop weight...
ENERGY IN < ENERGY OUT
Energy in has to be less than energy out. You need to physically consume (eat) less calories in food than the amount of calories you burn in a day. The MILLION dollar rule that is about as simple as it can get. I don't care if you are into Keto dieting, Paleo, low carb, carb cycle, intermittent fasting, whatever...it's all under the same rule. Your body is not going to lose a single pound if you do not create a deficit. So that part is pretty darn simple, the rest gets a little more in depth with a little chemistry and math. I am certainly happy to discuss the different dieting methods, because they do have their place. They are all helpful tools to implement into your lifestyle and help you determine what works best for you. Every single human body is a little bit different, so your personal preference may be completely different than your best friend or even spouse.
Now you have the basic rule, (calories in must be less than calories burned) so the next step is figuring out your basic caloric needs BMR (basal metabolic rate). This is the lowest amount of calories your body needs to maintain vital functions. There are numerous websites that have calculators to figure this out for you. If you enjoy a little mathematical challenge, feel free to use the following:
Women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)
Men: BMR = 66 + (6.23 x weight in pounds) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)
Important Point: Often times people think this number stays the same throughout there weight-loss. This is not the case at all. As you can see, it is dependent on your current weight. You need to recalculate this number frequently because the number will continue to decrease as it takes less energy for your body to function at a lighter weight.
My example: 655 + (4.35 x135) + (4.7 x 67) - (4.7 x 39)
655 + (587.25) + (314.9) - (183.3)
655 + (718.85) = 1374 calories/day
If I were to literally sit on the couch all day and do nothing, I would only need to eat 1374 calories from food to keep my body functioning without having to use stored energy (fat) to survive. To put this another way, I still will not lose weight if I drop my calories to 1374/day if I'm not moving at all during the day. This number is a pretty big shock to some, as it needs to be. One of the biggest fallacies is to think you are active simply because you get out of bed, do a few chores here and there, go to and from work or school, etc. You are actually NOT expending that much more energy then the BMR number. Personally I can't imagine eating only 1374 calories a day, I would feel completely starved and very HANGRY. This is where the first steps to become more active come into play "exercise", and eating healthy whole foods. The more calories you burn, the more calories you are going to be allowed to consume and still stay under your projected calories needed in a day. The eating healthy whole foods is SO important. The biggest factor to me is you can simply just eat SO MUCH MORE food when its healthy and a whole food.
I'm going to get much more in depth with macro counting and food choices, plus dieting styles soon because it all ties in together and again, helps your knowledge foundation.
Side note #1: I do not judge any diet type as being better for you or not. I believe each is a tool for personal preference. The trick is finding what works best for you and can turn into a lifestyle and not just a fad diet. I know Keto is the latest "greatest" weight-loss method and I am absolutely "pro" keto if it helps you and is sustainable. I do believe it has its place and I could write a completely new blog about just Keto, but I'll try to keep this a short version. Like low carb, you have very low to now carbohydrates, boom-bye bye glucose. No more carbs and glucose in your body, good bye water retention from the body holding onto those glucose molecules. No more sugars to burn, and the body turns to fat. Anyone that tells you you can eat as much fat as you want and still lose weight is full of horse poo. Yes, you are going to quickly drop water retention weight, but your body is not going to dip into its fat storage if you have too much readily available. Like I started out with, you STILL have to create a deficit.
Side note #2: This is just a personal note from me to you. One of the best investments I have made with my fitness lifestyle is a fitbit. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! I really thought they were a waste for so long, but I don't regret this purchase at all. There are a lot of different smart/fitness watches out there by now I'm sure, so if you are remotely interesting in one then make sure to research what might work best for you. I chose to go with the Fitbit Ionic because of all of the features. Yes, I budgeted for it since it's a bit expensive, but worth every penny to me. Obviously it is a watch and step counter, but it also fully links to my phone for updates from my email, texts, calls, calendar, and weather alerts. The watch now has apps to GPS locate all of your walks/runs, biking, hiking, skiing, etc. Mine is water resistance for water sports, plus has a heart rate monitor, sleep monitoring, exercise goals, music downloads, and SO MUCH MORE. Lastly, and almost my favorite, is the calorie counter. You can open the fitbit app on your smartphone, input all of your information and get help with your nutritional goals while it keeps track of your calories left for each day. The database for food is great and its always right there with you. I'm pretty sure the Fitbit Blaze and Versa are very similar to mine also. If you can budget for it, I don't think you will be disappointed in the purchase. I've learned so much about my own habits from it, plus it keeps me VERY motivated to keep moving throughout the day to rack up those steps. You might be very surprised how few steps you take in a day if you don't make movement a priority.
Before I leave you for the week, I'm going to give you something to work with again. Next week we are going to get into counting Macros and the many different ways to configure your macros. In order to make this useful, you need to keep track of EVERYTHING you eat. I'm not asking that you count for the next 7 days, maybe try 2 weekdays and 1 weekend day and write everything down. There are tons of apps on smartphones now that will help you count all of your calories and even macro divide them for you. My Fitness Pal, Loseit, fitbit, and many more that can assist you. Please don't cheat yourself and be diligent about writing everything down. If you snuck a bit of a muffin or cookie, you need to count it. Remember, this isn't a punishment at all, it's laying the foundation for your new healthy lifestyle. Stay tuned to the next few blogs as I go a little bit further in depth with the different types of dieting/eating habits to help you build that educational foundation.
I'm already proud of the steps you are taking and happy to be in this journey with you.
Till next week...
Dr. MJ Wegmann,