Weight loss and how to achieve it

Weight loss and how to achieve it

 

People often think there is a secret to weight loss. The truth is, there is no secret to weight loss. The facts underpinning whether you lose weight are very simple and effectively mathematical. Every individual’s body burns calories at different rates. Your body will burn roughly a consistent number of calories (kcal) each day if you were sat sedentary not doing anything.

 

This is known as your Basal Metabolic Rate (or ‘BMR’). The total number of calories you burn in a day is your Total Daily Expenditure or ‘TDE’. Your TDE will be affected by the activities you do – for example walking, sleeping, exercise and so on.

 

Therefore, the calculation for the number of calories you will burn in a day is:

Basal Metabolic Rate + Calories expended = Total Daily Expenditure

You can access a free calculator here which will give you an approximation of your BMR: https://www.calculator.net/bmr-calculator.html

From this calculation we can derive a very important principle, which holds true subject to extremely limited exceptions:

  • If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight;
  • If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight.

With these two principles in mind we can now consider what it takes to lose weight. If we look at the recommended daily amounts for an average adult we can see that for a male 2500kcal per day are recommended and for a female 2000kcal per day are recommended.

By way of example lets assume that an individual, A wants to lose weight. A is a 75kg 28 year old male and 180cm tall. Using the BMR calculator above we can see that:

  • A’s BMR is 1,740kcal a day. This means at rest, A would burn this number per day.
  • Assuming A eats the RDA for an adult male a day of 2500kcal. Again, we assume A is completely sedentary, there is a surplus of 760kcal a day, meaning A will gain weight.
  • To mitigate this surplus, A has essentially two options which have the effect of reducing/negating the surplus:
  • A can calorie restrict through his dietary actions. This means that A will consciously consume fewer calories per day in order to bring his calories consumed in a day closer to his BMR;
  • A can expend calories induced through exercise or other physical activity to get rid of the surplus.

 

It should be noted here that the underlying principle remains the same if A were a female. A would need to either calorie restrict or expend calories in the exact same way.

 

Whilst technically doing either in isolation is possible, the most effective and potent results are met when both are done for the reasons that we will explain below.

Let’s continue with A’s journey.

A decides to reduce his calorie intake to 2,000kcal and decides to take up exercise, by exercising four times a week, running twice a week, and doing weights twice a week. When A runs, he burns 450 calories in a session, and when A exercises with weights he burns 250 calories in a session. Looking at this on a weekly basis, we can see already that A is much closer to hitting his target:

Day

Calories ingested

Calories expended

Caloric surplus/deficit?

Mon - run

2,000

1,740 (BMR) + 450 = 2,190 kcal

deficit

Tues - weights

2,000

1,740 (BMR) + 250 = 1,990

surplus

Wed - rest

2,000

1,740 (BMR)

surplus

Thurs - run

2,000

2,190 kcal

deficit

Fri - weights

2,000

1,990 kcal

surplus

Sat - rest

2,000

1,740 (BMR)

surplus

Sun - rest

2,000

1,740 (BMR)

surplus

Weekly total:

14,000 calories

13,580 calories

Marginal surplus

 

The example above is tightly constrained to illustrate the concept and, in the example, above, any change in weight would be marginal and not noticeable, but we have done it to illustrate what needs to be done to lose weight. To induce noticeable weight loss, A would have two options to push his Weekly expenditure into deficit:

  • He could calorie restrict further to 1900 calories a day. The weekly difference of 700 calories would push him into a deficit of 280 calories weekly. This means he would slowly start to lose weight;
  • A could also exercise more, assuming he did step (1) and did one more running session, A would now find himself in a weekly deficit of 730 calories. (or a daily deficit of 104 calories)

 

The reality is in the example above, even with the marginal surplus A would likely lose some weight due to external variables that we have not accounted for in the example, as we want to illustrate the concept.

 

An example of a variable would be if A had previously not exercised before, the increase in muscle tissue as a result of the stress placed on his muscles would also slowly up his TDE, as having more muscle mass is calorie intensive.

 

Whether you look at your calories on a daily or weekly timeframe the underlying principle remains the same. If you want to lose weight you will need to expend at least as many calories as you are ingesting in a given day.

 

Now that the importance of being in a calorie deficit has been illustrated, it is important to know how to set up your diet so you can execute this consistently and committedly. Doing a large calorie spike will be extremely difficult, place your body under unnecessary stress and will like lead to relapse. We will not go over individual diet options in this blog as we feel it deserves a blog of its own.

 

It is important to look at weight loss over a longer period of time. We understand that this may be frustrating, and everybody wants immediate results, but it is the consistency that will lead to more consistent and ultimately better results for your body.

 

Steps to take

  • In week 1 you should aim for a calorific intake of TDE or a marginal deficit. This is important if you have never done weight-loss before as it will give you some time to adjust to restricted calories.

 

  • You should weigh yourself when you wake up each morning. It does not matter when you weigh yourself AS LONG AS you keep it consistent, that is to say either every morning or every evening, as the day progresses your weight will change owing to factors such as water retention and food eaten etc.

 

  • At the end of the week, compare your weight with the beginning of the week. Note the difference (if any) because this difference is important, and it will tell you what you need to do next.

 

  • In week 2 you should aim for a daily calorie deficit of 150 - 250.

 

  • At the end of week 2, weigh yourself and note the difference:
    1. If you have started to notice a difference, then great! Keep this consistent until you start to notice diminishing returns/no weight loss.
    2. If you do not note any difference you should increase the daily calorie deficit by 100 calories per week until you notice a difference on a weekly basis. Please note you should not go over 700-800 calories daily deficit as if you are not noticing weight loss prior to this it is possible that there is an underlying physiological reason for you not losing weight and you should consult with your medical professional for further advice.
  • Rinse and repeat these steps until you reach your desired weight!

We hope this blog has been informative and helpful, for diet options when it comes to weight loss, stay tuned for our next monthly blog post which will look at diet composition and how to best manage muscle gain and fat loss and whether the two can be simultaneously achieved!

- The Lucid Hemp team

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