Have you ever wanted to lose weight, but struggled to do so successfully? Conquering the energy equation will greatly assist you in succeeding on your next weight loss journey.
Let's begin with a background on the energy balance equation. Energy expended must equal energy consumed (minus any that may be excreted before it is absorbed). More simply, if the number of calories consumed equals the number of calories expended, you will maintain your current weight.
Obviously you are looking to lose weight, so back to the equation. To lose weight, as would be expected, calories expended must exceed calories consumed. It's that simple. The complexity of the matter falls upon finding out exactly how many calories you are consuming and expending on a daily basis.
In order to track the amount of calories consumed, it is essential that you write down everything you eat on a daily basis. Leaving out "small" or "insignificant" snacks throughout the day can severely hinder your weight loss results, as each snack that is ignored contains more calories that you have consumed but are not tracking. Another hidden benefit of tracking the food that you eat is the fact that it makes you aware of what you are consuming. This can lead to an unconscious decision to eat a healthier diet (fruits and vegetables instead of chips and cookies). Furthermore, healthy foods are more nutrient dense and contain less empty calories. Because of this they also repress your appetite for longer and improve your overall health. In regards to our equation, the "calories in" aspect is now accounted for.
Tracking the amount of calories expended can be a much more tricky matter. There are numerous tests and technologies available that provide subjects with the necessary means to estimate these values; however, they can end up being quite costly. The best way to estimate these values, while saving money, is to search resources online that provide "metabolic calculations". A simple equation will allow you to determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which is the amount of calories your body requires to sustain life and proper cell function (without any extra activity). This is the first aspect of caloric expenditure. Second, you must calculate the amount of calories you will additionally burn due to excess activity. Again, there are numerous online resources which will provide you with caloric estimates related to specific activities for set durations. I would suggest utilizing multiple resources for any given activity and averaging the values that you find. There are more precise ways to figure out these numbers, and thus be more exact with you energy equation, but this method will allow you to calculate the values on your own, all while saving a good deal of money. We have now accounted for the "calories out" aspect of our equation.
To recap: the total amount of calories you consume should be less than the sum of your basal metabolic rate and any calories burned by excess activity.
That's it! You're right, it's not a walk in the park, but if you're serious about losing weight, the energy balance equation is the key to your success. Tracking all of these numbers on a daily basis may seem like a waste of time, but after a few weeks, these tasks will become second nature. I like to compete with myself. Can I be more active this week than last? Can I learn how to cook four healthy, delicious meals this month? Employing the energy balance equation will not only cause you to learn more about your activity levels and dieting habits, but will also help you successfully lose weight.