There’s no way around it…no matter which quick weight loss plan, it is necessary to count calories. This fact is at the heart of every weight loss program. The main difference between the average program and a quick weight loss program lies in what really amounts to credits and debits; in other words, the amount of calories you ingest and the amount you expend.
First however, let’s get straight on what exactly a calorie is.
It’s Not “Something That Makes You Fat”
Believe it or not, this is actually what many people think. It shouldn’t be surprising that people have this idea, but it’s hardly accurate. It’s a good thing, too; you may dream of stuffing yourself with tasty food that is free of calories, but if you had that wish, you would soon starve to death, regardless of how much you ate.
A “calorie” is really nothing more than a unit of energy; more specifically, it is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of a kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius at sea level. That said, it has become a handy tool for nutritionists when determining the potential energy contained in various types and amounts of food.
Determining Your Daily Caloric Needs
On the average, women require approximately 2000 calories a day in order to meet their daily metabolic needs; men need around 2500. Note the operative phrase here: on the average. Very few people are actually “average,” and their caloric needs can vary according to height, body type, age and level of physical activity as well as genetic predisposition. All of this must be taken into consideration when determining an effective weight loss program.
At this point, it is worth pointing out that people who are more muscular tend to burn more calories at a faster rate than people who are not; this is part of the reason that males require more calories. Any quick weight loss plan should include some strength training for this reason.
This said, nutritionists in the U.K. have come up with a handy and reliable formula for determining one’s individual caloric needs, known as the Harris-Benedict Equation. Using a set number of 665 to represent the human basal metabolic rate, this formula for men is:
665 + (13.7 x Weight in Kilos*) + (5 x Height in Centimeters*) – (6.8 x Age).
For women, the figures are slightly different:
665 + (9.6 x Weight in Kilos*) + (1.8 x Height in Centimeters*) – (4.7 x Age).
The final figure will give you the number of calories you require every day.
Once you know how many calories you need in order to maintain, the secret to a quick weight loss program is simply to make sure that the calories you expend are more than the calories you take in. It’s that simple!
* A kilo is equivalent to 2.2 pounds; a there are 2.54 centimeters in an inch. Therefore, a little math is required here.
by Susan Slobac