Obesity automatically conjures in our minds the images of gluttony. The very first “friendly advice” given to an overweight person, for losing weight, is to “eat less”. But, what exactly is “less”?
I have seen people eat 4 large samosas in one go, as tea-time snack, between full meals. I have seen people eat sandwiches and pizzas, loaded with cheese, daily. I have seen people take 3-4 full servings of rice in one meal. I have seen people consume 500ml of aerated drinks daily. And I’ve seen them all remain perfectly slim, even without any physical exercise.
And then I’ve seen others who manage to gain weight with an average intake of just about 1400-1500 calories per day, even with a workout of 250-325 calories per day in the gym, 6 days a week! What does “eat less” mean for them… live on just sunlight and water?
Clearly there’s something missing in the equation, right? But, before we get to that, let’s find out how many calories are needed by a person per day.
Well, it depends on a number of factors… age, gender, current weight, height, lifestyle (sedentary, moderately active, very active, etc.) and the muscle mass. There are a number of online calorie calculators that can be used to get an idea of how many calories you need on a daily basis for maintaining the same physical state of your body.
Then, if you want to lose weight, you will not only need to ensure that you don’t eat more than the “maintenance calorific requirement”, but you’ll also need to expend 3850 calories for every kilogram of weight loss. Experts say that you shouldn’t attempt to lose more than 1 kilogram in a week… which is 3850 calories in a week, or 550 calories per day.
Now you could either reduce your calorie intake (by diet management – I hate the word ‘dieting’!) or increase your calorie consumption (by exercising).
Regarding ‘diet management’, the experts advise not to reduce your daily calorie intake below the amount required for maintaining your BMR (Base Metabolic Rate). Otherwise, the body tends to go in “famine mode” and starts conserving whatever you eat. So avoid crash diets, break up your daily requirements of carbohydrates, proteins and fats into smaller, more frequent meals, make sure you get the necessary fibers, minerals, etc, and don’t forget to drink adequate water.
Regarding ‘exercising’, there are two main types of exercises – cardio and weight training. Cardio vascular exercises (like walking, running, cycling, stair-climbing and aerobics etc.) are the ones that actually “burn” those stubborn calories, while weight training helps you build up more muscle mass so that you burn more calories even while just sleeping! But only weight training, without any cardio, will get you nowhere near your weight-loss goals!
So then, now that we’ve covered the technicalities of weight loss, let’s come to that abstract variable in the equation… the one that won’t let you lose weight despite eating healthy and exercising. This abstract variable is not something physical or tangible. It is a purely psychological resistance to weight loss. At a subconscious level, your obesity might actually be serving a purpose in your life. Or you might be using the layers of fat as a protective shield. Or it might even be acting as a substitute of something else that you lack in your life.
Why do I need this extra fat?
Is it serving some purpose in my life?
Is being overweight helping me in any way?
Can I achieve that purpose in some other way?
If yes, then how?
Am I using this extra fat as an emotional shield?
If yes, then against what / whom?
What can I do to make myself feel safe from that antagonist?
Can this extra fat/weight be a substitute for something else in my life?
If yes, then what is it that my life lacks?
What is it that I’m really hungry for?
What can I do to get it in my life?
It’s only when your psychological needs are also fulfilled that you’ll be able to see any physical results of all your weight loss efforts – diet management and regular exercise. Try to work with a holistic approach towards weight loss. And don’t ever fall for get-slim-quick schemes. There is no short-cut to losing weight!
About the author:
Chicky Kadambari, a.k.a. Kaddu, a self-proclaimed member of the A.F.A.E.A. (Alien Federation Aiding Earth’s Ascension), is the author of the blog – ‘miss_teerious‘. She endears herself to her readers with her quick wit and simple logic, in her lucid, straight-forward write-ups, peppered with humorous anecdotes from her own life. “Witty. Humorous. Thought provoking. Oozing positivity. A little sweet & a little spicy.” That is her own *signature note*. When she’s not blogging, she’s either busy being a homemaker, or doing some freelance writing & web-designing.
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