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Weight Loss 101


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  • Forum Moderator

There is so much hype around losing weight and tons of advise-much of it conflicting and some of it even dangerous

Basically it is very simple-it's the individual variations that become excruciatingly complex.

A pound of fat is 3,500 calories. To lose a pound of fat you have to burn 3,500 more calories than you eat. Period. No magic bullet and no shortcut on that.

Each person burns X number of calories a day. To lose that pound they must consume less than X calories a day or burn more . The bigger the difference between what they burn and consume and X determines how fast they lose. Basic scientific fact. Again-no magic and no way around it.

The tricky part is what your X amount is and how to burn more and consume less.

X is determined by many things. And differs not only from person to person but for the individual as well. X is determined by muscle mass, activity level, and metabolism. The greatest predictor for serious obesity is how early and how frequently you diet because it negatively impacts your metabolism and how fast and efficiently you burn calories. It's what is wrong with those famous and infamous 500 or 800 calorie a day diets as well as the fad diets. At first they seem to work wonders but eventually all have been proven to impact the number of calories your body burns. Often permanently so that when you go off those diets-as you must or die eventually-your body stores more of what you eat as fat and burns less for fuel. You end up not only regaining but able to eat less without gaining each time you do it.

Also there is a chemical reaction within the body that can and eventually will kick in to be super efficient at using and storing the food you eat. A starvation mode that once saved us but now makes us fat when we diet too much or too severely. Everything possible is stored as fat and energy falls so exercise becomes difficult too.

In order to lose weight you need to get your body to continue to burn at a high rate -in fact stimulate it to burn higher rather than less. You can do that by periodically eating more than you burn -about once a week-and by exercise. 15 minutes of aerobic exercise boots metabolism for 24 hours. Fact. That is all you need to keep your metabolism up or boost it. More will burn more calories but those 15 minutes are critical. What is important is that it be aerobic and boost heart rate. There is a ton of advise out there and limitless forms of exercise. The energy boost it gives will more than make up for the loss of 15 min in a day.

As far as diet-you have to find what works for you and you can live with for the rest of your life. I have. When you are done losing weight you don't go back to the old ways-you slowly increase what you like and is healthy-but healthy won't matter unless you like it too-and reach a point where you enjoy your food as well as how you feel. It's a balance. There are tips and tricks. some that I think are vital but they are psychological and I'm basically talking physiology right now.

I've written elsewhere how I lost. But this is the science based on a great deal of research and training in nutrition as well that it is based on.

Burn more than you eat and keep your metabolism up and you'll lose weight. Keep your calories at a minimum of 1200 a day and you'll stay healthy and not damage organs or lose muscle. Find a way that you can live with and enjoy and you'll keep it off. That hard and that simple.


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Guest Robin Winter

Thanks Johnny :)

This is something I'm starting to take seriously myself. If I don't start losing weight now, I'm going to have a very hard time of it in the not so distant future. Getting motivated, though, is my biggest problem right now.

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Guest Jo-88

BTW I created a spreadsheet awhile back for tracking my measurements, food intake, exercise, lean body mass, rmr (its setup to do an average between the female and male formulas for calculating resting metabolic rate), and calorie deficit. I think it might be a big help for some people as all the formulas are already entered all you gotta do is plug in the info... Im gonna create a torrent or get it hosted somewhere and post back with the link

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Guest Jo-88

here is the magnet link for the torrent, I'm not sure if the forum software will format it correctly... so you may need to copy and paste it into your torrent program.


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  • Forum Moderator

Shilo-I understand that! Promised myself I'd diet tomorrow every day for years. Then one day I said "No!-I do it right now. Today". With no more excuses. Worked for me. The no excuses and the eating day are what really made it work for me. A life without chocolate and ice cream is unthinkable-but I can wait a few days and actually enjoy them more that way. You know I love to cook too and I save some of the special stuff I make for the eating day too. You'll find your motivation!

Jodie-I think that is great and wonderful of you o share it. I have match anxiety and could never do it. Tend to start feeling too fenced in sort of but it sounds like a wonderful setup. I use livestrong.com because they do for me about all I have tolerance for. Wish I could discipline myself enough for your spreadsheet though.


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Guest Anira


What you've said here falls line with the Diet and Excersize routine post i had made before. the diet portion is between 1000-1400 calories per day depending on the meal and the excersizes are simple excersizes to help keep the metabolism up as well as the calorie burn.

and i agree that one must be careful when doing ANY diet, as their nutritional needs may vary from the one person to the next.

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Guest ValerieD

Is there anything you can do if you got your metabolism out of whack when younger? I swear everyone else at college is able to eat 2-3 times as much as me yet not gain weight!

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Guest Guest_SL

Thanks Johnny :)

This is something I'm starting to take seriously myself. If I don't start losing weight now, I'm going to have a very hard time of it in the not so distant future. Getting motivated, though, is my biggest problem right now.

You and me both, sister. You come up with any ideas, let me know. I ran for over 15 years, day, night, rain, sleet, 100+ temps. Never missed too many days. Since I retired I have lost all direction.


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Guest Melissa~

Wish me luck as of next year I'm going to try my first weight loss diet ever. I topped out around 210#, which isn't terrible. As shown in my avatar I'm at 200 right now, I have had a 20lb variance around 200 for a decade now, I intend to reduce from there significantly. :superman: If I must let I might slide it further into the future so be it, but a 19 month window is surely adequate. If I start a transition I'll need to determine what my final metabolism will be at, and get used to that portion diet. I love food, rich food, and too much of it. I'm afraid if I eat a vegetarian snack regime( carrots and low calorie dip etc), combined with smaller portions I won't be satisfied, but I will give it a try...next year.

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Guest ZoeG360

Good discussion. JJ you are the total expert here when it comes to weight management and, as a scientist, I have always maintained that the caloric expenditure vs metabolism formula is the only thing that has enduring results.

But here is where I get stuck: HRT. For MTFs on HRT (gads, alphabet soup!) muscle mass goes down and fat is redistributed (not converted from diminishing muscle like many people like to say). Now it seems like that should cause weight to drop but mine went up when I started HRT.

I do two very intense workouts a week, with cardio, weight training, and core stabilization and according to my heart rate monitor I burn off 1300-1400 calories a session. In addition I go for 1-2 walks with my dogs a day. Its had no effect on my weight. (eating remains about the same, reasonable healthy). I keep this up even though my metabolism has been dropping.

So I looked into Zone training where you monitor your heart rate and train for maximum fat burning at lower aerobic levels. No change.

So I tried interval training where every few minutes you shift training zones up and down. No change.

The only thing I can guess is that the weight training is preventing my muscle mass from diminishing, but I don't want to turn into a marshmallow and I have seen many beautiful women who lift weights. Someone here (was it you Jodie?) posted about how weight training is OK but if you eat protein based foods, it rebuilds the muscle the HRT is taking out.

So I cant eat protein, fat is bad, carbs are bad. That doesn't leave much.


PS: Jodie: Bittorrent is telling me that tracker is sending invalid data

Arrgh, this is simple but complicated. Like you said, the madness is in the individual details.

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Morning Johnny:

Our community is actually sponsoring and running the Columbia Slimdown Challenge with over 600 teams of at least 6 members right now.We're in our third week and I lead my team with a loss of 8.2 lbs. The way my schedule is shaping up over the next two weeks, I may double or triple that. I'm closing on a new house for me Friday. I bought a six year old forclosure and between the painting and laying floor, moving all my stuff in. Cutting down some trees to thin out the back yard, grind stumps and then spread a couple dump truck loads of dirt for a yard. It's that kind of intense activity that melts the pounds off me and I have always loved a project. My goal is to be below 200 lbs by the end of summer. I've set a goal to do more walking an biking this summer. Kathryn

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Guest Krisina

You brought up some good points Johnny about knowing to keep your calorie intake at a minimum 1200. I've often thought that the body switches into a safety survival mode wanting to store more fat after being starved of food, calories. People going on diets, quitting them and gaining more weight than before, harder to lose weight. I like how you said to eat once a week more calories than you burn, more than you need. Your body will think things are fine. I have found on several occasions after eating for example a large portion of fish and chips, or several good servings of slices of pizza in the past my weight went down. The next morning when I weighed myself, I had thought, I would have gained more but i didn't. It didn't seem to make sense.


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The science is pretty straitforward.

First challenge is getting started and keeping it up long enough to see some results. After that success can start driving succes.

Second challenge is stablizing and maintaining when at target.

And perhaps the biggest challenge is keeping the weight off long term.

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Guest Donna Jean


Outstanding, JJ.....

I love hearing good advice from a person that I actually know IRL .....

That makes it all the more wonderful!

Best to you Hon.....

You've worked so hard for this...Congratz!

Dee Jay

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