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Weight Loss Employs Smart

Planning and Execution ...

What do we need to know before starting a weight loss regimen?

Before engaging in any type of weight loss program, some things must be understood and then tracked moving forward. First, begin by assessing the current situation


  • What is your current body weight and what is a realistic goal weight (including short term goal weights)

  • What is your body composition, including body fat percentage as well as fat mass (FM) and fat free mass (FFM) in lbs.

  • What are your starting tape measurements (waist, hips, chest, shoulders, thigh, arm, leg, etc)?

  • What are you starting health risk indicators (blood cholesterol levels, triglycerides, blood pressure and glucose)

  • What are emotion and physical goals?

  • What is the right calorie level for you?

  • What types and amount of exercise will you do?


    Be sure to track these measures moving forward. Also keep a food and exercise log for at least two weeks to get a handle on your calorie balance and compliance to your exercise program.


How many calories should we eat during weight loss?

Most health professionals recommend a much less drastic energy reduction coupled with exercise for weight reduction. Rarely are energy levels restricted below 1,000 to 1,200 Calories. You can begin by using the equations providing earlier in the chapter to identify a calorie level that is right for you. Then calculated the calorie level that will allow you to lose 1 to 2 lbs of weight loss per week.


The golden rule of dieting states that to theoretically lose one pound of body-fat tissue, you need to create an energy imbalance of 3,500 Calories in the favor of weight loss. Since 1 lb of fat weighs 454 g and because fat cells are roughly 86 percent fat, to lose 1 lb of fat it would require about 3,500 Cal.

454 g × .86 = 390 grams of fat × 9 calories = 3,510 calories


Therefore to reduce body weight by 1 lb of fat per week an individual would need to create an energy imbalance of 3,500 calories per week favoring weight loss. Dividing 3,500 calories by 7 days, one would need to create an average energy deficit of 500 calories daily. To lose two pounds, create a calorie imbalance of 1000 calories daily.


Increasing physical activity throughout the day as well as exercising can account for a lot of the calorie imbalance. The table below provides the approximate number of calories expended during various activities and exercises. For example, a 185-lb man walking at a 5 mph pace for 60 minutes would expend about 600 calories of energy.


































What are weight loss plateaus?

The rate of weight loss may not be consistent throughout your efforts. Weight loss rate may be greater earlier on then taper off as the regimen continues and even plateau. First and foremost, this is typical! Periods of plateau can represent your body’s adaptation to the energy restriction by slowing down a bit. As a survival mechanism, your metabolism can slow down to accommodate imbalances in energy intake. Some of this will be hormonal (e.g. thyroid hormone) while the bulk of it is due to the loss of body tissue, especially muscle. This is one of the most important reasons to some resistance exercise during weight loss. This will help your body hold on to muscle as you lose weight and minimize the reduction of RMR.


Keep in mind that changes in body weight do not always reflect changes in body composition. This is why it is important to monitor body composition with body weight. Also, make note of changes in “fatty” regions of the body such as the waist, face, and chin. Your clothes may begin to fit differently and you may feel less jiggling when climbing stairs. Your exercise program can allow tape measurements to continue to change as your body composition changes and you redistribute your weight. Furthermore, health risk measures can also continue to change as you stick with your program. So even though the scale isn’t moving you are probably still making progress. This is a good time to start weighing yourself less frequently and focus more on other measures.


Can nutrition supplements help people lose weight and body fat?

Numerous nutrition supplements are available that tout weight loss, increased fat breakdown and/or burning or appetite suppression. The most common ingredients or origin include caffeine (and related molecules), guarana, green tea, CLA, citrus auranteum, Hydroxy Citric Acid (HCA). Among these the best scientific support is with caffeine which is why caffeine or similar molecules (theobromine, theophylline) or natural sources such as guarana, teas and cocoa are typically the foundation of weight loss supplements.


Can frequent dieting have derogatory effects?

Many people are on a dieting roller coaster. Some starve or semi-starve themselves for several days to weeks and then eat excessively for a period of time. Then they start the cycle all over again. This is sometimes called yo-yo dieting. During the period of drastic energy restriction, the body will deplete its glycogen stores and rely heavily upon stored fat and protein to power metabolic activities. Since protein is largely derived from lean body tissue, such as skeletal muscle, this practice tends to reduce muscle mass and in turn decrease basal metabolism. This can result in a decrease in RMR calories and a greater likelihood of gaining weight when we return to eating an unrestricted amount of energy. Two of the biggest issues associated with yo-yo dieting is that over several cycles you can slowly lose leaner, more metabolic body tissue like muscle. Thus every starting point of a cycle is truly not the same as those before. Plus, repeated restriction followed by repletion can further reinforce reduced self-image so there can be a psychological toll as well as physical.


Is it possible to be too lean?

It is not healthy to be excessively lean as it increases the risk for various diseases as well as malnutrition. An excessively lean male would have less than 5 percent body fat, while an excessively lean female would have less than 10 to12 percent body fat. Do not forget that 0 percent body fat cannot be a goal, as not all body fat is stored in adipose tissue, which is classically called “fat.” Some fat is stored in bone marrow and other vital places. Excessively lean girls often fail to produce adequate sex hormones (e.g., estrogens), a condition which is associated with irregular or halted menstrual cycles which promotes the loss of bone mineral setting them up for bone disorders such as osteoporosis.

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