Weight loss is a resolution we all too often give up on. It takes time, effort, and discipline, but it very manageable once you figure out your specific goals and set yourself up for success. John Wojciechowski, a certified strength and conditioning coach as well as founder of Metabolic Functional Fitness, shared some helpful and simple tips to help along your weight loss journey as well as maintain a healthy weight.
Energy balance is an important component for understanding what is body weight and how it functions. Everything we do and consume affects our energy balance and ultimately our weight. Weight is primarily determined by the quantity rather than the quality of the energy (food) we consume.
When we consume food, we are consuming calories, which is the body’s energy source. Our body weight is a direct reflection of the balance between calories burned and calories consumed. The more excess calories we intake, the more fat we develop, regardless of where those calories come from. To loose weight, you need to create a caloric deficit through a combination of eating less and moving more. Therefore, it is important to measure, track, and adjust the quantity of food you eat to ensure proper weight loss and maintenance.
The food we eat has a significant impact on how our body functions and whether we gain or loose weight. Macronutrients are responsible for providing the fuel we need to survive, which include proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, while important to our overall health, do no provide any caloric energy the body needs to survive.
Proteins contain 4 calories per gram and important to build and repair tissues. Also, proteins are made up amino acids, of which there are 9 essentials ones our bodies need to survive. Whether you get your essential amino acids from a singular complete protein source or a variety of incomplete protein sources, the goal should be to consume all the essential amino acids for a healthy body. It is recommended that you intake between 0.4 – 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.
Fats, while often considered the enemy of a health diet, are very important to your body as they help with hormone production and provide your body with energy. Fats contain 9 calories per gram and fit into 2 basic types – Saturated and Unsaturated. It is recommended to avoid trans-fats found in processed packaged foods as they do not have the same benefits from naturally occurring fats. It is recommended that fats make up between 20 – 50% of your total daily calories.
Carbohydrates’ main purpose is provide your body with energy by releasing glucose once they are digested. Carbs contain 4 calories per gram and are classified into 3 types – Monosaccharides, Disaccharides, and Polysaccharides. While carbs are not required for survival, they provide a good source of energy and it is recommended that cards make up between 45 – 65% of your daily calories.
So now that you understand more about the basics of calories and how they relate to different types of foods, what should be your calorie requirements? There is no simple answer as your daily caloric requirement is a moving target that changes with time and different conditions. For example, your metabolism is flexible and adaptable, so as you age or your body is exposed to prolonged calorie restriction, your metabolism will slow down and therefore affect the amount of calories you burn.
There are many different equations out there that provide an estimate of calculating your calorie requirements. Generally speaking, use the following equations to determine how many calories you should intake based on your weigh goals:
- Weight loss = BW (body weight) X 10 – 12
- Maintenance = BW X 14 – 16
- Weight Gain = BW X 18 – 20
John also shared his 3 tips for fat loss:
- Create a calorie deficit – start with a caloric intake of BW X 12
- Aim for a macronutrient ratio of 40/30/30 – Carbs, Protein, Fat
- Start resistance training 3 times per week for 45 min – 1 hour
Some other considerations to consider include:
- Plan for 3 – 6 evenly spaced meals per day and prep your meals in advance
- You can eat almost anything you want as long as you are measuring, tracking, and adjusting your calories
- You cannot diet forever, so plan out some breaks
- Weight loss is not linear so you must be patient
If you have further questions about managing your weight, please contact John at email@example.com. For a copy of the presentation, please visit https://www.njstatelib.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Nutrition-for-Weigh-Management.pdf.