THE BASIC MATH
One pound of body fat stores 3500 calories – that is where we begin. It initially may seem too daunting to even try to lose weight. This is because it can take days, if not weeks, to burn this many excess calories. We may lose one pound if we walk 35 miles. Also, if we cut back around 300 calories per day, it may take a couple of weeks to lose even that one pound.
All of this depends upon variables, such as:
- Our starting weight
- The intensity of our exercise
- The amount of exercise
- Calories consumed
- Type of calories
The exercise done by a larger, heavier person will expend more calories than the same by a smaller, lighter person. To maintain current weight, that larger person would also need to consume more calories than someone smaller.
We are burning calories all day long, while doing nothing. We do this to stay alive, since we need to breathe, eat and pump blood. The average person may burn 50 – 100 calories per hour by sitting or sleeping. Variables are our weight and, to a lesser degree, our height.
THE SOLUTION TO WEIGHT LOSS…..
We must do both, i.e:
- Carefully control our calorie intake
- Increase our activity to expend more calories
Sound easy? The concept is easy. It is most certainly preferable to increasing our physical activity while maintaining or increasing our calorie intake – or eating fewer calories but engaging in little or no physical exercise. Either of those choices may lower our body weight eventually, but either process is likely to take so long for fruitful results that our motivation may dissipate long before our objective is reached..
A PERSONAL ANECDOTE – I can’t imagine choosing to exercise more, yet not eating less – or choosing to eat less while becoming less active. The compound approach makes far more sense to me: eat less, exercise more! I have often heard that physical activity makes us hungrier. That doesn’t happen with me; exercise seems to suppress my appetite. I have been sick at times, in which case I have no energy for workouts or appetite for food. But, given reasonable energy, my activity and calorie control merge together cooperatively. I eat about 1800 calories per day and do workouts every morning of about 30 minutes.
One more thing: it also seems non – productive to me to lose weight without workouts for muscle development or toning. Otherwise, after significant weight loss, we may have loose skin or cellulite – not a pretty sight!
So…do it right and look forward to the exhilaration of seeing weight loss on your scales every morning. The satisfaction is well worth the time and discipline.
This article addresses workouts for weight loss, so no more emphasis on diet today, as important as it always is.
We may perform bench presses to build our pectoral muscles or curls to enlarge our biceps. Neither will appreciably reduce our weight. We must exercise our hearts!
Here are some highly effective cardio exercises:
- Running, jogging or walking
- High Intensity Interval Training. See my prior post on HIIT
- Jumping rope
- Jumping jacks
- Squat jumps
Workout videos are popular for a reason. They give instruction and demonstrations in the privacy of your home. Turn on the video and music and join in! Here are some choices:
- Weight loss yoga workout
- Zumba High Intensity
- Fat Burning Cardio Kickboxing
- At Home Cardio For Fat Loss
- Full Body Dance Cardio
- Cardio HIIT And Core
- Walk On: 4 Mile Power Walk With Jessica Smith
While cardio exercise is the method of choice for weight loss, there is often the possibility of weight loss plateaus. Our walks around the block may be leveling in terms of intensity. Bicycling may be seasonal only. We may not be swimming as often as we had planned.
As we reach a plateau, it becomes prudent to vary our forms of exercise. Cross train. Add new forms of cardio to your program. Check out the videos and consider different ones. Refresh your outlook.
Another personal anecdote. I use my treadmill every morning. I have no need to get in my car and travel to a gym. Bad weather is no obstacle. Here is my treadmill type, somewhat upgraded since my purchase.
Another cardio workout, often overlooked, is high rep, light weight and fast dumbbell training. As we move from one set quickly to the next and then the next, we are working our heart more than the specific muscles engaged. But the muscle toning does tend to tighten our skin and prevent the cellulite. If we use no weights in our cardio workout, we should incorporate the weight training on other days, at least twice a week.
Losing weight is not easy. It requires dedication and sacrifice. A new year has begun. Forget about resolutions. Instead, develop a workout program for weight loss and muscle toning, limit calories and see what happens for 3 months. If you sincerely want to lose weight and indeed abide by those guidelines, you will see positive results. At that point, you will be buoyed by your success and inspired to go further. Nothing succeeds like success!
Imagine the compliments and encouragement in store for you. But beware of the naysayers who envy and begrudge your accomplishments. They are out there too. Stay away from them.
Take a look at the female body below, in sequential stages. Does anyone think that she would ever return to her form shown on the far left? I think not.
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