And the research shows that you’re definitely not alone.
Many of us want to lose weight and keep it off. We go on diets, hit the gym, and after a few months of giving it our all, we’re left looking at the scales with a broken heart. We swear we’re doing all the right things, but the results simply don’t add up.
So what are we missing?
The truth… More often than not, it’s the true understanding of what really causes fat loss.
What causes fat loss?
Anything that creates a caloric deficit is going to lead to weight/fat loss. This means any diet and/or fitness regimen that has you burning more calories than you consume will lead to you to have less fat (often seen in the form of a weight loss).
Energy balance is the relationship between energy in (food calories taken into the body through food and drink) and energy out (calories being used in the body for our daily energy requirements). This all occurs thanks to the laws of thermodynamics.
Factors that affect energy in include:
Factors that affect energy out include:
Underestimating Calorie Intake
There is a lot of research out there which clearly showcase that on average, “the population as a whole underestimates energy intake by self report and that the degree of underestimation is severe.” [Reference]
“Comparisons of measured energy expenditure with energy intake from either weighed or estimated dietary records against energy expenditure have indicated that obese subjects, female endurance athletes, and adolescents underestimate habitual and actual energy intake. Individual underestimates of 50% are not uncommon. Even in non-obese adults, where bias is minimal, the standard deviation for individual errors in energy intake approaches 20%.” [Reference]
Why does this occur?
There have been numerous factors sighted from poor memory recall, lack of knowledge, attitudes towards food and even disturbances in body image.. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/8206/f6ee25b5861ff15040d103b56e571d37b430.pdf
There use to be a documentary you could watch online called 10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LOSING WEIGHT where researchers asked a lady to keep a food diary to gain understanding of why she couldn’t lose weight. In the first four days, the lady reported consuming “about 1,100 calories” per day, when in reality she was consuming 3,000 calories per day. Now that is a nearly 3 times as much, and a major difference!
Does this occur because what I eat is unhealthy?
Whether it’s nutritious or not, it’s easy to overeat. We often don’t realise we’re doing it, especially when we’re eating “quality” calorie density foods, think of all the high calorie healthy fats found in nuts and avocado.
So, how many calories are in what?
Type it into Google, and you’ll find all sorts of calorie intake estimates:
10 Almonds: 70 calories
1 Timtam: 80 calories
1 large Flatwhite Coffee: 110-160 calories
1 70g scoop of Connoisseur Ice Cream (Caramel Honey Macadamia): 190 calories
2 tablespoons of Olive Oil: 239 calories
1 small Hass Avocado: 260 calories
1 160g snack sized Grill’d Chips: 380 calories
1 bowl of Teriyaki Chicken: 570 calories
1 Grill’d Summer Sunset Burger: 746 calories
1 185g packet of Kettle Chips: 925 calories
1 restaurant serving of Pad Thai: 940 calories
How many calories am I meant to be consuming then?
When we look at the estimating daily energy requirement calories for a sedentary person (eg. an office worker who does no strenuous physical activity) as according to Nutrient Reference Values for Australia and New Zealand, we see for a female between the ages of 31 and 50 should maintain weight if she is consuming 1,912 calories per day. We also see that a male of the same age should consume 2,366 calories per day.
Using myself as an example
When I put my personal details into the national recommended online calorie calculator, as a 28 year old female who weighs 56kg who selected ‘sedentary work and no strenuous leisure activity (office worker)’, which I recognise I am not, I receive the response of 7,711kj or 1,843 calories. Those are the recommended amounts to maintain my weight. Meaning, I’d have to consume under this amount to lose weight.
Luckily for me, my active job, weights training regime and a desire to grow muscle mass allows me to eat upwards of 2,370 calories per day… which I’d like to point out, only just starts to put me on par for calorie intake with a healthy average male.
How many calories should you be eating?
You can calculate your recommended daily calorie intake at: https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/node/add/calculator-energy
So what does it look like to eat less than the recommended calorie intake so that I can finally lose the fat/weight?
Assuming the I as a 28 year old female wanted to lose weight whilst keeping a sedentary job, I would be looking to consume 1600-1700 calories per day. So what does eating to lose weight really look like? Let’s do the picture thing to finish this one off…
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Tags: body composition, calorie counting, calorie intake, calories, education, energy, Fat Loss, feature, featured, Healthy Lifestyle, personal training, perth fitness, Weight Loss