I hope you are all doing excellent. With finals just around the corner, this also unfortunately means that this will be my last article of the year, and in light of this, I wanted to go out with a bang and cover something a little controversial as well as provide some information that can hopefully help some people out. This final article will be covering weight loss and weight management for long term optimal health.
Now first off, MAJOR DISCLAIMER! This is by no means a one-size-fits-all guide, because everyone is so different. Individual hormonal differences, sex differences, genetics, lifestyle, and dietary choices all affect the subject of weight in some way. My only intention here today is to shed some light on the subject and hopefully provide some new information to help some people out. In my humble opinion, most of the information about weight management that we are fed is complete trash. Growing up, we are told just eat healthy, skip dessert, and make sure we are exercising enough, or something like that. What does this really mean though? How much exercise is enough? Or how much food is enough food? The reality is that the majority of people don’t know how to answer these questions, and how can we blame them when they were never really taught? Today, I want to provide an alternative to some of the nonsense out there. This isn’t a gimmick, crash course diet, or a product, nor is it a temporary solution. This will, however, provide you some simple skills on how to eat intuitively.
Let me introduce you to macronutrients, or macros for short. You may know these as carbohydrates, fats, and protein. Why are these important? You may be interested to know that adding all of these up throughout the day will give you your total daily caloric intake. Knowing this number can be very beneficial and give you a great point of reference of where to start. Why count, you may ask? Well, simply put, counting calories gives you a number to adhere to. It’s not guessing or taking shots in the dark. You have a number that, over time, will help you understand how it affects your body in terms of losing, gaining, or maintaining your weight. I recommend two useful tools for this to work: a free app called MyFitnessPal, which tracks your caloric intake for you, and the BMR calculator found on www.bmi-calculator.net./, which will get you your BMR as well as daily caloric needs. To find your number, you will first need to find your BMR, or basal metabolic rate. All this means is how many calories your body burns at rest while not doing anything. As you can imagine, this can increase dramatically, simply by walking to and from class all day, walking around at work, and not to mention, playing sports or working out. Once you know this number, you can then find out your daily caloric needs. This number will then indicate how many calories your body needs to maintain its current weight. I say approximately because these calculators will give you a rough starting point, and that’s fine. I would recommend tracking this number as well as your weight for two weeks to see how accurate it is in maintaining your weight. After this period, you can make some adjustments, albeit small ones like a 200-500 calorie deficit, or increases, depending on if you want to lose or gain weight. You then track your new calories and weight for another two weeks to see if you have lost or gained any weight. If you’re losing weight, stick to those calories, and if not, adjust them again. For people who are looking to gain weight for sports or trying to build muscle or are doing more activity, gaining weight should be a much slower process to avoid excessive fat gain, say 2-3 pounds a month (maximum), or a half-pound a week. While this method may seem slow at first, I think counting can provide an eye-opening and informative experience that I really hope you look into. In closing, I want to thank you for reading, and of course, never stop working towards your goals in fitness, school, and life. Have an awesome summer, and take care.