by Derry Temple PT/NMT
The optimal approach to weight loss has long been recognised as a combination of exercise and diet. The first law of thermodynamics dictates that weight loss occurs whenever energy output exceeds energy intake. Reducing calorie intake below daily energy requirements while increasing energy expenditure through increased activity is the key to success.
- The National Institute of Health has recommended that to loose 1 to 2lbs per week, a weight loss program should create a deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day. In an analysis of 25 years of research published in the International Journal of Obesity it was found that average weight loss of a weight reduction programme was almost 4 times more effective when exercise was combined with nutritional intervention highlighting the importance of considering both diet as well as physical exercise.
- The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) which is the global leader in sports medicine and exercise science recommends 200 to 300 minutes a week of moderate intensity activity in order to burn approximately 2,000 calories per week. This translates into 60 minutes of daily activity and burning around 300-400 calories per exercise session.
- The recommended daily calorie intake will differ for everyone depending on such factors as age, body type and activity level. An average female however should require approximately 2,000 calories per day, while the starting point for men is about 2,500.
Counting the calorie content of the foods that you eat can help you increase your awareness of what you eat and what your body needs. It can be an effective tool to help in weight loss and is easy enough to fit into most lifestyles. However calorie controlled diet plans come with a caution. While limiting calories you should ensure you get the appropriate nutrients including the correct balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates. To do this you should ensure you eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, dairy, meat, poultry, fish and eggs. In this way, you will ensure that you get more than 100 percent of your recommended daily intake (RDI) for all essential vitamins and minerals.
Try to reduce the high calorie items such as those that are high in fat or sugar. Do not reduce calories drastically as extreme calorie reduction can produce a “starvation mode” phenomenon that happens where your body actually withholds the calories you take in for later use. Your body will begin to slow down its natural metabolic processes to conserve energy and will promote fat storage. So remember if your goal is to lose weight then moderation is key. Moderate exercise performed daily and a moderate reduction in calories should provide you with the long lasting results you want.