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Weight Loss for Beginners

8/17 10:45:21
Losing weight need not be difficult, although many people will tell you otherwise. There are so many different diets, books, programmes, magazines and adverts out there, including a multitude of quick fixes and fads, no wonder most people find the prospect of losing weight very daunting, even depressing. The sad truth is that most diets do fail. Why? Unfortunately there are as many reasons as there are diets, but there is one underlying truth about losing weight that underpins everything. The philosophy is very simple; to lose weight you need to eat fewer calories each day than your body uses up. A calorie can be defined as a unit of energy and the body needs a certain amount of fuel or energy each day just to function. If you consume more calories than you use, you gain weight. That's it. If you want to lose weight you can begin right here by following this very simple guide, which will help put you on the road to success.

Begin by setting yourself small, realistic targets. Focus on what you have to lose this week not this year. This is very important. If you have a target weight in mind that is a long way down the scale from where you are now, concentrating on that goal alone is enough to put you off even before you start. Breaking your desired weight loss down into sections so that you have a weekly target allows you to have an achievable goal each and every week. There is absolutely no point in setting yourself unrealistic weekly goals; you're destined to fail. A realistic, achievable and safe weight loss each week, for most people, is somewhere in the region of 1 to 2 lbs.

Let us suppose that you want to lose 2 lbs a week. What we need to do now is work out how many calories you need each day in order to achieve this. You can do this by identifying how many calories you are using at the moment, and then make sure you get just 500 less than that. Do not guess. Your body is used to having a certain amount of energy every day so if you drastically and suddenly reduce this amount then you are likely to feel drained and exhausted; prone to mood swings, food cravings and binges, and ultimately to give up. Sticking to 500 calories a day less than what you normally eat, ensures a regular, steady weight loss that will leave you feeling empowered, more energetic, healthier and indeed, happier.

An average adult male needs around 2500 calories a day just to live, and the average woman, 2000, but what about you? How do you work out how many calories your body needs each day? You can visit http://walking.about.com/cs/calories/l/blcalalc.htm where you will find a very simple, calories per day calculator for adults. By putting in your height, age, sex, current weight, and activity level, you can find out how many calories your body is likely to need each day just to maintain your current weight. For example, I put in the following information: Height - 6ft, current weight - 182 lbs (13st 3lbs), Age - 32, Sex - Male, Activity Level - very active. The number of calories per day that my body needs to maintain my current weight is 3224.

But you want to lose weight, so you need to consume 500 calories less than what you are using at the moment. You must put your body into negative calorie balance otherwise your weight will stay the same. Similarly, if you put yourself into a positive calorie balance by consuming more calories than your body needs to use, then you will gain weight. It's really very simple.

So you have made the decision to lose weight. You have set yourself a realistic target of around 2 lbs per week. You have worked out how many calories you need to maintain your current weight and subtracted 500 from that in order to find out how many calories you need to eat each day. All you need to do now is calculate those calories and you are on your way.

How are you going to work out how many calories there are in the foods you are eating each day? This need not be a tiresome task; in fact it can be a rewarding adventure. What you learn now will stay with you for life and help you to make better choices regarding your eating habits in the future. You will need to educate yourself on what foods and snacks are high in calories, which ones are low in calories and even what free foods are available that contain little or no calories at all. Fortunately most food packaging contains nutritional information on the label, including how many calories they contain. The rest is up to you; you have nothing to lose, except the weight of course.

Copyright 2006 David McEvoy
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