I know, you were expecting a more sophisticated plan. But in the end, it's not rocket science. The math is actually pretty simple.
If you eat more than you need, the excess is stored as fat and you gain weight. But if you burn more than you've consumed, you'll have a "calorie deficit." This is a good thing. The extra energy you need will come from fat, and you'll start to lose weight.
A pound of fat is roughly equivalent to 3,500 calories. If you can add some exercise and burn an extra 500 calories a day, in 7 days, you'll have burned off one pound.
This is assuming you're not still overeating. If that's the case, you're just slowing down the rate at which you're getting fat. We need to do a little better than that!
Most people have no idea how much they're eating. They either guess high or guess low, but either way, they're guessing. But guess what? Guessing makes you fat!
You need to know how MUCH you're eating. When it comes to losing weight, it's really more important than what you're actually eating! At least when you get started.
So how do you know how much you're eating, and how much you SHOULD be eating? If you have a smart phone, you can download lots of different free apps that will help you do this.
One app that's been very popular with lots of our Biggest Losers is called MyFitnessPal. You simply plug in your age, gender, height, weight, and goal (weight loss), and it tells you what your target is. Another popular app comes from Calorie King.
You simply download the app, set it up for you, add foods as you go, and it keeps track for you. It will track a lot of other things like protein, carbs, and fats, but that's not really necessary. You just want to track your calories.
Be careful though. Some apps give you credit for your exercise, telling you that you can eat MORE calories. Obviously, if the goal is weight loss, you don't want to do this.
It takes less than five minutes to download the app on your phone and set it up. It'll take a few more minutes to start entering food in after each meal. But we tend to eat the same types of things over and over, so it won't be long before you have a nice little data base that you can just click on.
If you do nothing else, you need to track your calories, at least for awhile. It educates you about what you're doing to yourself. It also helps keep you somewhat accountable. When you know you're going to have to write it down, you might not eat it. Or you might pull it back a little bit.
Remember, most women don't eat enough, and most men tend to overeat. The American College of Sports Medicine says women should never go below 1,200 calories per day. For men, it's 1,800 calories.
Over the years, and in 23 Biggest Loser groups, I've found that most women do well around 1,500-1,650 calories/day. Most men do well at around 2,400 calories/day. Doing well means they lose weight but still feel satisfied or full.
There you have it. Let's get tracking! Next week, I'll tell you how to track your exercise and activities! When you put the two things together, weight loss becomes predictable.