More than you consume. But not everything is so simple.
Is it possible to lose weight through physical activity alone?
The main rule for weight loss is to create a calorie deficit. In other words, burn more than you consume.
It stands to reason that it doesn’t really matter how you create the deficit, through diet or physical activity. The latter will really help you lose weight if you need to lose about 1-2 kg. But when you want to lose more, you can not do without a diet.
In a meta-analysis of 80 scientific articles, it was estimated that exercise would only help you lose about 2kg in six months, and in the next six months, all of that loss would come back. At the same time, the diet will ensure weight loss by an average of 5 kg in six months and will help maintain the result.
But at the same time, if you add exercise to the diet, the effectiveness increases significantly. In the same meta-analysis, this weight loss regimen resulted in a loss of 8 kg in six months. Two years later, the people gained about half of what they lost, but still less than those who only dieted and didn’t exercise.
Therefore, if you want to lose as much as possible and maintain this indicator, it is really worth adding physical activity, in addition, regularly.
Is it possible to accurately calculate how much to move
Every weight loss person wants to know how soon the results will be. To meet this need, articles on weight loss often refer to Max Wishnofsky’s calculations published as early as 1958.
The scientist calculated that the caloric equivalent of one pound of human fat is 3,500 kcal. So to lose 1 kg of fat, you need to create a deficit of 7,700 kcal.
Wishnofsky’s formula is good for its simplicity, but it doesn’t take into account that weight loss is a non-linear process. At first, the weight decreases really quickly, but this is mainly due to glycogen and water reserves. Then the body adapts and begins to burn fat, but at the same time the extra pounds go very slowly, and then the process completely stops.
One study tested Wishnofsky’s rule in five real experiments with 103 adults and found that the formula yielded an average of 3.3 kg of error.
For this reason, you should not rely entirely on mathematics when it comes to losing weight. If you still want certainty, check the Mifflin-St. There are many calculators that do approximate calculations based on the Jeor formula.
Currently, it is considered the most accurate, although it throws an error.
In addition to weight, height, gender, and age, this formula includes the physical activity coefficient. There are the following general categories:
- minimal load – a sedentary lifestyle and lack of training
- low load – light workouts 1-3 times a week
- medium load – moderate exercise 3-5 times a week
- high load – hard training 6-7 times a week
- very high load – training twice a day (professional sports), hard physical labor
This way, you can plan how much you’re willing to move, set the proper settings, and see how that translates to the required calorie reduction.
For example, if you have a sedentary job, you can add three runs and two gym sessions, change the level from minimal to moderate, and get an increase of 300-400 kcal in your daily diet to lose weight.
Such tools give only a rough idea, but it is enough to start your journey to a healthy weight and not have false hopes about the timing and amount of weight lost.
If you know English, you can try the calculator developed by scientists at the US National Institutes of Health.
This tool takes into account the correction of a slowdown in metabolism in the process of losing weight and allows you to calculate not only the required calorie content but also the number of exercises per week. Just don’t forget to change the calculator to meters and kilograms, and in the final calculations, to calories instead of kJ.
How to get results from training
Calculations are fine, but the body is much more complex than simple numbers. Many things are important for weight loss:
- Sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that cleans sugar from the blood and stores glucose into fat cells for storage. To increase it, you need to reduce the amount of fast carbohydrates (sweets and starchy foods), which cause a sharp rise in blood sugar, as well as engage in strength and cardio training
- Percentage of fat and muscle mass. The more muscles you have, the more energy will be spent on their maintenance. Building muscle requires strength training
- The amount of sleep and stress. The smaller the first and more than the second, the more difficult it will be to lose fat reserves. Therefore, it is very important to sleep 7-8 hours every night and, if possible, reduce the level of psychological stress in life
Also remember that your body is not a machine. No matter how much weight you want to lose, your muscles and nervous system need rest. And the older you get, the longer it takes to heal.
Using the calculator mentioned above, you can calculate the amount of physical activity per day that you don’t have to cut out of your diet. But even if you have time for it, you’re unlikely to last long at this speed.
So don’t overdo it, instead choose an activity that will bring you pleasure. Group fitness or dance, martial arts, team sports, skating and skiing, swimming, long walks with a player – everything is a pleasant and desirable activity, which will not be a punishment for extra kilocalories.
This is the main secret of successful weight loss and successful maintenance of good shape for the rest of your life.