||Can you explain to me in simple terms the concept of "burning more calories than you consume" in order to lose weight? If I'm eating 1400 calories a day, but only burning 500 a day exercising, how can this be making progress? |
||It sounds like you’re referring to a "calories in vs. calories out" type of equation. One pound of fat is made up of roughly 3,500 extra calories. To lose 1 pound of fat, you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories. |
Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the calories burned by your body on "idle". This is the minimum amount of energy needed by the body at rest in the fasting state. This includes the body functions such as circulation, breathing, generating body heat, transmitting messages to the brain, cellular metabolism, and the production of body chemicals.
A simple way to determine your BMR is using the basic "rule of ten". Multiply your weight by the number 10 and this is your BMR. For example a person weighing 150 pounds would have a BMR of 1500 calories. (150 x 10 = 1500).
This BMR number is about 60% of your total calorie needs for the day. The digestion and absorption of nutrients makes up 10% and the other 30% comes from your physical activity. This includes anything from blinking your eyes, getting dressed, washing the car, to running a marathon. For example, a person weighing 150 pounds would need:
Basal Metabolism…………... 60%……….1500 calories
Digestion and Absorption…...10%……… 250 calories
Physical Activity…………….... 30%……… 750 calories
Energy use for the day……. 100%……….2500 calories
Therefore to lose weight, one needs to consume fewer calories than are needed each day. (Your SparkPeople diet plan has taken your BMR into account IN ADDITION to your current normal activity level -whether you checked off sedentary or very active, etc in your preferences during setup. The caloric range you need to stay in to lose weight was given to you.)
Basically, you create a deficit of calories in 2 (or 3) different ways:
Eating Less Calories than you Burn each Day.
Eat anything less than what you use each day (1500 cal BMR, 250 cal digestion= 1750), consistently, and you will lose weight. So, if you eat 1200 on this day (a 550 calorie deficit), and all week long like this, you will lose 1 pound (3500 calories) in about a week.
Keep your caloric intake the same (1750) and create your deficit by burning extra calories. So, if you burned 500 calories through exercise alone, you will still lose 1 pound in about a week.
A Combination of Both Diet and Exercise
This is the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off.
Say you cut your calories by 300 and burn 250 calories with exercise. There is your 550 calorie deficit—with much less deprivation and work.
You could speed it up by cutting more calories and exercising more—whatever works best for you. Some people hate to diet, others hate to exercise, so maybe you’ll do more or less of either one.
Of course, the example above was just for simplicity. You can cut any number of calories from your diet (more or less than the 500 in the example) and you can burn more or less than the example illustrates. As long as you are consistent, your deficit will "add up" over time…and you’ll slim down.