Sunday, November 6, 2011


Eat healthy foods. Exercise.

Any effective weight loss or diet program really comes down to these basic principles.

There are some people who can simply exercise and eat whatever they want - yes, that includes hamburgers, sodas, and chocolate ... but they still lose weight, and there are others who just need to cut back on their calories and they'll drop pounds without even thinking of hitting the gym.

I don't fall into either category.

If I want to lose weight, I have to exercise and I have to watch what I eat ... and it's not just what I eat, but I have to watch the portions too.

So, now that I've been banned from the gym for another two weeks (well, five weeks before any vigorous/intense workouts and weight lifting) and my movements have been limited, I really have to watch what I eat so that I make sure this five-week break doesn't equal a fifteen pound gain in weight!

To do this, I'm starting with the numbers.

The basics:

Ideal weight
I visited this website to establish a frame of reference for how much I should weigh and what my BMI should be. I pretty much knew these numbers before but I just felt like I needed another reminder. I think some height:weight calculators can be unreasonably low, but as I said, this is just a frame of reference for me to use to get to where I want to be.

I've been reading Jillian Michaels' book: Winning By Losing, and I followed the formulas she has presented to calculate calorie burn etc.

Losing weight
Calculate your basal metabolic rate (BMR) -- the number of calories your body burns without any additional activity
Females: 655+(4.3 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years)
Males: 66 + (6.3 x body weight in lbs.) + 12.9 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)

I've had to recalculate my daily activity level. Before I did moderate activity - going to work + gym ... but now I'm basically confined to the house, and even then mainly to the couch! So I'm down to a sedentary lifestyle (score 1.1) [light physical activity score 1.2; moderate activity level score 1.3; high physical level score 1.4 -- note that this is your normal daily level and it does not include workouts at the gym - just how much you move on a daily basis because of work, running errands, taking care of family etc.]

Then I used the following chart to get an idea of how many calories I burn during exercise (the most accurate number would be from a heart-rate monitor - not the number that the exercise machine gives, but an actual, personal heart-rate monitor).


BMR x Daily Activity Score + Exercise Expenditure = Active Metabolic Rate

Breaking it down

Losing 1 lb/week = creating a deficit of 3,500 calories per week (500 calories daily)

After calculating your Active Metabolic Rate, figure out how much you'd like to lose per week (2 lbs/week is considered a healthy amount of weight to lose per week) and then you can divide it up for your calorie allowance per day.

I know that the bottom line is - eat less, move more ... but I think it does help to keep the numbers in mind, and this is especially true in my case at the moment when I'm barely moving. We'll see how it works. I've got the numbers down - now I'm got to implement a realistic, sustainable plan.

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