Strength and Fitness - The Impartial Guide to strength, fitness, endurance and nutrition

Weight Loss | Weight Management

In the majority of adults their body mass or weight remains relatively constant over a year, generally varying by less than 3-4kg. For these individuals there is an equal balance between their calorie intake, from food and drink, and their energy expenditure through physical activity. If these individuals were to then increase their calorie intake and, or, decrease their physical activity levels, their intake of calories would be in excess of energy expenditure. The excess of calories would then lead to increased storage of body fat and would cause an increase in body weight. If on the other hand they reduce their calorie intake and, or, increase physical activity levels they would have a net expenditure of energy. Because more energy is being used than supplied, through the diet, the body then turns to its stores of body fat to use as fuel. This would therefore lead to a decrease in body fat levels and body weight.

What is obesity?

In the western world there are increasing levels of obesity. Obesity, is essentially, the storage of an excessive amount of fat. A man is classified as obese if they have a body fat percentage of 25% or greater, and the limit for women is set at 30%. Obesity is linked to many health problems including: type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a reduction in healthy lifespan. It is estimated that around 20-25% of the adult population, within western society, can be classified as clinically obese. Perhaps, more worryingly, the level of obesity among children is also rising. Although, for some people the cause of obesity is genetic, for the vast majority of people, is due to poor diet and reduced activity levels.

The three basic principles for weight loss/ weight management

For people who are suffering with obesity or those looking to increase weight loss there are three methods they can use:

  • 1) Adults can reduce their calorie intake below their daily requirements – men require 2,500 calories, and women require 2000 calories per day. Reducing the daily intake by 500 calories, to 2000 calories for men and 1500 calories for women, should lead to around 1-2 pounds of weight loss in a week.
  • 2) Individuals can maintain a normal calorie intake (2500 calories for men and 2000 calories for women), but increase activity levels. An average sized person (around 70kg or 11stone) could burn of 300 calories by walking 3miles (every mile you walk will burn around 100 calorie). If you did this everyday for a week you would burn around 2100 calories which would lead to around a 1 pound loss in weight.
  • 3) You can look to decrease energy intake whilst increasing activity levels. By reducing your calorie intake by 500 calories and burning 300-500calories through exercise you could expect to loose around 2-4pounds in a week.