By Luana Elliot

Everybody’s looking for the quick solution for fast weight loss with restricted diets that normally last one week. The fact is weight loss is quite simple. If you eat fewer calories than you burn you will reduce your weight, but if you consume more calories than you burn then you will increase your body weight and, depending on the type of calories consumed, this gain will be mainly fat mass. This can be proved by the following example.

If you become more physically active with no changes in your caloric intake, you will probably notice that you will drop a few pounds. The same could be observed if you do not change your physical activity but decrease the daily caloric intake. It’s a very simple mathematical formula. However, the strategy you select for weight loss is what will determine how healthy you will become.

I hope you select the strategy that will promote weight loss and optimize your health. Weight loss should be more than calories in and calories out; however, the concept of calories in versus calories out is the basis of weight loss. The best strategy to adopt is to increase your physical activity and adapt your nutrition for a plant-based diet including complex carbohydrates, healthy and lean proteins, and good sources of fats.

Nutrition plays a very important role in a person’s health that goes from appearance, energy, performance, confidence, well-being to response to stress. But do you know exactly what a calorie is?

A calorie (lowercase C) is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of 1 g of water to one 1°C.  If you desire to lose weight, or to gain mass, it is important for you to find out how many calories you need to consume daily for healthy weight loss or to gain mass considering your rest metabolic rate, the thermic effect of food, and the energy expended during physical activity.

Resting metabolic rate (RMR) stands for the consumption of calories while at rest, and it is the minimal amount of energy required to sustain each individual body’s functions such as blood circulation, respiration, and temperature regulation. The thermic effect of food (TEF) is the energy produced by the body to digest food, and approximately 6% to 10% of total energy expenditure depends on the frequency and energy content of the meal. The thermal effect of exercise (TEE) is the energy required to execute any physical activity above resting metabolism. Physical activity can account for 20% or more of an individual’s total daily energy expenditure.

Let’s calculate your total energy expenditure. Here is the simple formula:

Step 1. Your Weight (lbs.) x 10 = RMR
Step 2. RMR x activity factor (Activity factor – check tab below) TEE

Applying the number

Example: heavily active 180-pound man
Step 1. 180 (lbs.) x 10 = 1800 RMR
Step 2. 1800 (RMR) x 2.1 (Activity factor – check tab below) = 3780

Physical Activity Factors for Various Levels of Activity For Adults of Average Size 19 years or Older
Very light  Seated and standing activities, office work, driving, cooking; no vigorous activity. 1.2 – 1.3
Low active In addition to the activities of a sedentary lifestyle, 30 minutes of moderate activity equivalent of walking 2 miles in 30 minutes; most office workers with additional planned exercise routines. 1.5 – 1.6
Active In addition to activities of a low activity lifestyle, an additional three hours of activity such as bicycle 10- 12 miles an hour, walk 4.5 miles an hour. 1.6 – 1.7
Heavy Planned vigorous activities, physical labor, full-time athletes, hard labor professions such as steel or rolled workers. 1.9 – 2.1

*Adapted from the food and nutrition Board. Dietary reference he intakes for energy, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, protein, and amino acids (macronutrients). Washington, DC; national Academy of science; 2002.

Now that you know how to calculate your calories, go ahead and do the math. After your daily energy expenditure (daily number of calories needed) is calculated, let’s follow up with the best nutritional plan to ramp up your loss, gains, and health optimization. You observed that, the more you move, the more calories you burn and more pounds will be melted away.


*Luana Elliot is a certified personal trainer living in Los Angeles. She is a native from Rio de Janeiro – contact::

**Research Source: National Academy of Sports Medicine – NASM

Share This