Weight Loss

What factors determine my weight?

  • Basal metabolic rate (resting metabolism; genetics)
  • Calorie consumption (how much you eat)
  • Energy expenditure (how much you do)

How much should I eat?

The formula to determine you basal metabolic rate is listed below (remember this is the minimum amount of calories one would need to consume to maintain his/her current weight assuming no calories were burned from activity)

Women :
BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )

Men :
BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in years )

This number can then be multiplied by variable ranging from 1.2-1.9 depending on one’s activity level.

One who wishes to lose weight should decrease calorie intake to 15-20% below the basal metabolic rate after multiplied by their activity level but never less than 1200 calories per day for women or 1800 calories per day for men.

Does it have to involve so much math?

No, general guidelines as listed below are much simpler to follow:

  • Avoid eating until you feel full (stop when no longer hungry)
  • Avoid skipping meals (we should eat 4-5 small meals per day)
    • skipping meals can actually slow your metabolism and cause you to GAIN weight
  • Drink plenty of water (avoid liquid calories like soda, sports drinks, and alcohol)
  • Don’t keep junk food in the house or you (and your children) will eat it
  • Fill your diet with plenty of lean proteins, vegetables, fiber, and a moderate amount of dairy, fruits, and high quality unsaturated fats.

What about supplements and diet pills?

  • A well balanced diet typically does not need to be supplemented with expensive vitamins, minerals, and herbal medications.
  • Diet pills can be somewhat helpful for severely overweight people for short term weight loss. However, most patients will gain the weight back if when they stop taking the pills if they haven’t made the necessary lifestyle changes that include a healthy diet and regular exercise. Also diet pills can have a variety of side effects ranging from unpleasant (oily diarrhea) to life threatening (heart failure).
  • Many supplements that claim to “increase your metabolism” can be dangerous. Trying to “trick” your body like this will typically lead to regaining any weight that was lost if not more once the pills are stopped.

Do I have to exercise to lose weight?

  • Most successful weight loss programs do feature some form of exercise.
  • Exercise does not mean countless hours on the treadmill. It can include anything that increases your heart rate like dancing, playing sports, taking your dog for a walk, or playing hide-and-seek with your kids.
  • Aerobic exercise (jogging, walking, swimming, etc.)
    • strengthens your heart and lungs
    • decreases your risk of heart attack and strokes
    • burns calories while performing the activity
  • Anaerobic exercise (weight training)
    • Improves muscles strength and toneNot only burns calories during the activity but can increase your resting metabolism so you burn more calories all day long
  • Both types of exercise are important and have numerous other benefits not listed. Talk with your doctor to determine what type and intensity of exercise is appropriate for you.

Bottom Line

  • Gimmicks, fad diets, starvation, and supplements DO NOT lead to successful long term weight loss.
  • Remember it takes many years to gain weight and can take equally as long to lose it (plan on 1-2 pounds per week on average).
  • Features of successful weight loss
    • Motivated to get healthy, not to impress others with their physique
    • Have a strong support network of people helping them achieve their goals
    • Incorporate regular exercise into their daily lifestyle
    • Have the patience to make changes that can last a lifetime

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