The media loves to overcomplicate weight loss as a way of generating clicks and ad impressions.
To achieve weight loss is just an energy balance:
Calories in vs Calories Out
You need to consume less calories than you burn. Research how to work out your own weight loss calories by clicking the following link…
To put it simply, move more, eat less. Now that doesn’t sound thrilling but it’s the backbone of losing weight. Where people come unstuck is finding ways to create consistency and adherence so how do you do this?
- Incorporate foods you enjoy
- Create structure to your nutrition plan that fits your lifestyle and calorie allowance (See article on creating consistency and structure with your nutrition)
- Engage in hobbies that you enjoy on a regular basis
- Increase Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) – We will delve into this further down the article
Understanding Energy Balance
Let’s delve a little deeper into the calories out part of the energy balance; Everyone knows that being active is an important component for weight loss, but that doesn’t mean just going to the gym, doing classes or going for runs in the park. Let’s look at an average day:
Work (office work) – 8 hours
Sleep – 8 hours
Chill Time (TV/online shopping) -3 hours
Gym Time – 45 – 60 minutes
For three quarters of the day we are inactive, that 45-60 minutes in the gym doesn’t seem as productive now. Also you are not burning as many calories as you think in the gym, many classes claim that you can burn nearly a 1000 calories, but the reality is more like a maximum 500 calories depending on duration and intensity.
What about all the other movements you do during the day, like:
- Walking (start off with 10,000 steps daily)
- Using the stairs
- Standing instead of sitting
- Walk or cycle for transportation
- Active play with your children
All these activities are known as NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) which are often overlooked but contribute a lot toward your daily energy expenditure. If losing weight is your primary reason for exercising, NEAT is an essential component of that objective. Walking at only 1 mph will double your energy expenditure over sitting
Increasing NEAT may seem insignificant because you are not elevating your heart rate, but making the effort to change your daily habits by being on your feet more, instead of sitting, alongside reducing calorie intake, will create a larger calorie deficit, which creates the foundations for long-lasting weight-loss success.
Understanding Your Total Daily Expenditure
Lets dive a little deeper into TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) which is the backbone of weight loss as it identifies roughly how many calories you burn throughout the day. Once TDEE has been identified, you can create a calorie deficit that best suits your goal, i recommend start off with a small deficit of 15% and then adjust accordingly.
The majority think metabolism is just your resting metabolic rate (RMR), but it’s so much more than that.
Metabolism = Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)
Here is an example to help you understand how TDEE works:
Example TDEE – 2500 Calories (You burn this amount every day)
1500 calories (60% RMR)
1000 calories (40% everything else)
Total Daily Energy Expenditure consists of 4 key components, including:
RMR – resting metabolic rate – up to 60% of your TDEE
What makes up your Resting Metabolic Rate?
Bone mass, Organ Mass, Fat Mass and Muscle mass. Gender will influence this: Men have more muscle and are generally bigger, so can burn more calories at rest. The bigger you are, the more calories you will burn at rest (RMR).
NEAT – Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis 20% of TDEE
This is all the movement you do that is not a planned exercise e.g. moving your hands, walking to the shops, cleaning.
EAT – Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – 10% of TDEE
e.g. football, spin class, lifting weights, cardio
TEF – Thermic effect of food – 10% of TDEE
The number of calories your body uses to break down and digest food.
example – If you consume 2000 calories, 10% of that is lost through your body’s efforts to digest the food, so you’re actually consuming 1800 calories
These 4 together make up what is known as your metabolism.
Out of the 4 factors I mentioned above, the one you can influence the most is NEAT. Find ways to be on your feet more. This is why I am an advocate of tracking your steps and reiterate the need to be achieving a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.
I advise getting a steps tracker to ensure you’re burning calories, that you creating a large energy output. However, it’s important to bear in mind the need to control your calorie intake- no point of increasing NEAT if you are not eating less.
NEAT makes up 20% of your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE), and can have the biggest impact on weight loss regarding your TDEE as you have control over it, compared to the thermic effect of food which is also part of TDEE. Now 20% doesn’t seem a lot, but when 60% of your TDEE is your resting metabolic rate (RMR) which is difficult to make any kind of impact regarding energy expenditure.
Another key component for increased energy output is finding hobbies you enjoy. If you enjoy being active and make it part of your lifestyle, then you are more likely to keep the weight off long term. For example, consider walking, join a running club, cycling, golf, 6 a side football, whatever it is you enjoy.
Losing weight is not as complicated as you might think. Consider ways that make the process more enjoyable by incorporating foods and activities you like, this will more likely help you commit to the plan and achieve long-term weight loss. Remember….eat less and move more!