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The Simple Math of Losing Weight

With so much talk of this diet or that one, this magic pill or the next technological breakthrough, the real key to losing weight is simple math. As far as your body is concerned, calories are calories – the scale doesn’t have the ability to tell if they are carbs, protein or fats.

So, how do you lose weight with out starving yourself or taking extreme measures? Take a look at some simple ways thanks to math.

CALCULATE GOAL WEIGHT CALORIES

First, determine what the ideal weight for your body is – whether it is your own goal or one your physician helps you identify.  Go to the American Cancer Society’s Calorie Calculator and enter your GOAL weight, your gender and your activity level. The tool will calculate the number of calories someone who weighs your GOAL weight should consume.

In order to meet your goal weight, you need to eat like someone who weighs 160 lbs. rather than someone who weighs 190 lbs. (use your actual numbers). Take the calorie count for your goal weight and learn it. Write it down or make yourself a sign and stick it in a prominent place.

DIVIDE YOUR CALORIES

Next, split your daily calorie intake into 5 segments (a sample based on 2200 calories):

  • Breakfast – 300 calories
  • Snack – 200 calories
  • Lunch – 500 calories
  • Snack – 200 calories
  • Dinner – 1000 calories

TRACK EVERYTHING

Get a journal (What I Ate (Teal) Mini Journal) or use a free online service like FitDay to track EVERYTHING that goes in your mouth.

Plan your meals ahead of time by identifying the calorie counts of your favorite foods and build your meals around them. You can still have your favorite latte or fast food splurge, but you have to account for them.

Read labels and measure servings. If you plan on eating cereal for breakfast, take a few minutes to measure out the 1/2 cup serving of cereal and the 1/2 cup of milk. Take a look at how big the serving really is – this will help you adjust your own judgement of portion sizes.

WEIGH YOURSELF DAILY

I know that the idea of weighing yourself daily is a somewhat controversial concept, but think of it this way – if you don’t know how much money you have in the bank, how do you know how much you have to spend?  Daily weigh ins help keep you on track and keep those extra pounds from magically piling on.

BALANCE YOUR CALORIE CHECKBOOK

Think of your daily calorie allotment like your bank account. You have a certain number of calories to spend per day. As you go through your day you subtract every calorie that goes into your mouth from your calorie balance. If you know you are going out for a special dinner, you can save up your calories earlier in the day or earlier in the week. If you don’t “spend” all of your calories in a given day, think of them as a savings for the future. If you “spend” more than your allotted calories then you are borrowing against your calorie account. Once in a while this will not affect you adversely, however, if you are constantly borrowing, your body goes into debt – and you gain weight.

As a nation, the US is not only fighting a financial crisis, we are fighting an obesity crisis. Oddly enough, both situations are the result of spending more than you have and not living within your means.

Visit our friends at One Big Health Nut for a great article on 7 Ways to Keep Your Weight Down During the Holidays.

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4 Responses to The Simple Math of Losing Weight

  1. Aletha says:

    Very good post, thanks!

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