Eating less and exercising more is enough for some people to lose weight, remove excess body fat, and keep it off. That was the mindset for nutritionists to solve the weight loss conundrum. However, for many of us, that formula does not work. When I was learning about nutrition the basic weight loss formula involved knowing:
a) how many calories it took to maintain your ideal body weight,
b) how many calories were expended in different types of exercises,
c) and, how many calories in a pound.
If I wanted to weigh 150 pounds, it takes 15 calories per body weight pound to maintain 150 pounds. Fifteen times 150 equals 2250 – the number of calories to support 150 lbs. If I eat more, I will gain weight. If I ate less, I would lose weight. One pound of body fat has been estimated to be 3500 calories. Eat a total of 3500 calories, and I would put on one pound. Eat less than 3500 calories (over time), and I would lose a pound.
This probably works when you are young. When you age, the systems in your body are not as efficient as they were when you were younger. As you age, it takes more effort to lose weight. One might ask about eating the same and exercising to lose weight.
If I walk three miles/day at a 3.5 mile/ hour pace, then I will burn a total of approximately 245 calories. If I maintained my eating at 2250 calories a day, and I walked three miles a day at 3.5 miles/hour, it would take me about two weeks to lose weight (one pound of body weight ) – since I have expended 3500 additional calories just to lose one pound by exercising.
Google ‘calorie burn calculator’ and see what options you might have for various kinds of exercises to help you lose weight. You might find several that you enjoy. Some activities will help you lose weight faster than others. If I increase the intensity or time of my exercise, then I lose weight more quickly.
However, in the real world, not everything works according to a master equation. Hormone imbalance, insulin resistivity, and a dozen other factors can negate or change the basics premise – 3500 calories equals one pound of body fat. Adding or subtracting 3500 calories does not guarantee gaining or losing a pound.
What do you do? The first advice I can offer is to eat healthily. Regardless of what your weight is, develop a lifestyle that will leave you healthier than going on a diet to lose a few pounds. Get healthy and stay healthy first. Then start to change (incrementally) those things that can/might affect weight loss.
Factors like insulin resistivity and hormone imbalance become normalized over time. You are deficient in critical nutrients your body needs. An occasional fast (intermittent or otherwise) improves your overall health. Caloric restriction (ten calories per pound of body weight rather than fifteen calories) has been shown to reduce the risk of age-related diseases.
The impact of exercise on the body is more efficient when your health is nutritionally stabilized. The goal to lose weight is not nearly as high as to survive to old age with as few health issues as possible. Don’t look at those few extra pounds today being fixed with a temporary diet. Look at those few extra pounds today as a starting place to make you a more healthy person by changing your lifestyle.