There are weight loss diets, plans, pills, surgeries, drugs, programs, spas, patches, clinics and even weight loss teas. Store shelves are lined with weight loss products, from supplements to books and videos. Weight loss is a billion dollar industry, with no end in sight. It appears by the rising weight of Americans that weight loss is a complicated and elusive goal. The truth is that weight loss is a simple equation of nutrition and exercise. Weight is gained or lost depending upon your diet and how much you move your body.
While certain plans, products and programs will work for some, there is an equation that works for all: lowering one's calories and exercising.
Weight Loss and Food
The best way to take control of your food intake is to buy two simple items: a notebook and a pencil. Write down what you are eating. Log the calories you consume. This makes it easier to cut your caloric intake, without doing an extreme diet or cutting out any foods completely. If you want to make a change, cut out a spoonful of sugar in your coffee every morning, have one egg instead of two, buy bread with less calories and find out what foods you love with a low calorie count.
To help with calorie cutting, you can also buy simple snack foods and eat them every hour or two, such as a single serving of applesauce, a banana, or a low-fat pudding serving. These little treats will make you feel as if you are eating often, but will not bulk you up in weight. You may not have to eat less, in fact, you may be able to eat more and more often, but by realizing how many calories you are taking in, you can find easy and creative ways to lose weight without losing enjoyment.
Weight Loss and Exercise
Unless you've found an exercise technique that you absolutely love doing, such as yoga or tennis, then you are probably like most people: you don't do it. More than ever people spend their days in front of a computer screen and their nights in front of a television screen. This is one of the biggest contributing factors when it comes to weight gain. The body needs movement to be healthy.
You don't need to join a gym, buy an exercise video library or buy fancy workout clothing. What most don't realize is that a mere fifteen or thirty minutes a day can make a huge difference in the amount of calories being expended. Deciding to take the stairs instead of the elevator, taking a walk around the block during a lunch break or even spending a few minutes dancing in your home to your favorite music in the evening, is burning calories. If you, like most Americans, have a sedentary lifestyle, adding a few little changes into your daily routine can make a huge difference. Every movement is burning calories.
Calculating Your Daily Calorie Needs
There are many nutritional calculators available on the web to help you count calories, vitamins, minerals and decide what your nutritional needs are. It is as simple as imputing your sex, age, height, weight and daily exercise activity into the calculator. Once you have put this information into a nutritional calculator, you will be told how many calories you need to take in per day to maintain or lose weight. The calculator will give you your BMI (body mass index), which will tell you your daily energy expenditure and your estimated energy (calorie) requirements.
For instance, if you are a 35 year old female who is 5-foot, 5 inches and weighs 165 lbs, but leads a sedentary life that finds you only walking for 30 minutes a day at a slow rate of 2mph, then you will need to take in 2120 calories to maintain your weight. Your BMI will be 27.5 and if you would like to lose weight, you must eat less than 2120 calories per day and/or exercise more.
By learning to understand your daily calorie requirements and the amount of calories burned in exercise, you can take control of your own weight loss, without any special diets, pills or products. Simply cut a few calories here and there and add a few movements for healthy, long lasting weight loss.