Many of us may know the basics of the weight equation – balance calories consumed and calories burned through being physically active in the direction we want our weight to go.
- Weight Loss = More Calories Burned than Consumed (or Less Calories Consumed than Burned)
- Weight Maintenance = Equal Calories Burned and Consumed
- Weight Gain = Less Calories Burned than Consumed (or More Calories Consumed than Burned)
It’s so simple, right? But for those of us looking to lose weight, this concept may leave us with more questions than answers; like, where should I start. In the GIFT Lessons we suggest you start with tracking what you are currently eating and doing to be active. If you would like even more information on tracking check out the winter issue of the GIFT Box Newsletter – there is an article on Ready, Set, Track: Why and what you should be tracking.
Once you have a good idea of how active you are and what you are eating, now it’s time to figure out your plan. To lose a pound we must create a 3500 calorie deficit. To lose 1 pound per week (which is a good goal), each day we need to reduce how much we eat by 500 calories, increase how many calorie we burn by 500 calories or something in-between like eat 250 calories less and burn 250 calories more.
Since you have already tracked your current eating patterns, look for ways that you are comfortable with to reduce your daily intake. The nutrition label will be very helpful here, if you aren’t using an app like SuperTracker. Yes, that means you should continue to track your food choices; it will help keep you honest with yourself.
Now look at your physical activity patterns. Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity helps control weight, builds lean muscle, reduces fat and promotes strong bone, muscle and joint development. Can you believe it? All these benefits from something so fun! Exercise is a great way to reduce stress, increase the strength of your heart and lose weight. Wondering how much you should be getting? Great question.
For kids and teens (that’s anyone between 6 and 17 years), your goals are:
- Physical activity: You need to be active a minimum of 60 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. As an alternative, you can count your daily activity steps using a pedometer (girls’ goal: 11,000; boys’ goal: 13,000).
For adults (that’s anyone aged 18 and older), your goals are:
- Physical activity: You need to be active for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. As an alternative, you can count your daily activity steps using a pedometer (goal: 10,000). For weight loss, try working up to 60 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.
Exercise does not have to be difficult or hurt for you to get the benefits. Some of you may be sitting here and thinking, “But, I don’t exercise.” Well, the best part – it’s never too late to start! Plus, you may be doing more than you think. Did you clean your house today? Yes? Guess what, you exercised! Did you wash the car? You did! That’s right, you exercised! You see, you don’t have to go to a gym and spend hours on an exercise machine, for it to be exercise. Here are some other examples for you:
- Yard work
- House work
Starting an exercise routine to manage your weight, such as walking or bike riding, isn’t something to be scared of or worry about. Exercise includes things you’ve been doing all along! The walk to the mailbox you take every day – try taking that walk down the block next time. Done washing the car – give your arms a nice workout and wax it. You see, exercise can be all around you. You just haven’t been thinking about it in these terms – until now!
So put your thinking cap on, let’s see how many ideas we can come up with to add activity to our day? I’ll start with some easy ones. Instead of parking right in front of the building try parking in the furthest spot. Or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Your turn …