There are numerous sources online for fitness and weight-loss calculators that offer a variety of functions such as: determining an estimated value for the necessary caloric intake or your daily calorie needs for body weight maintenance, fat loss, extreme fat loss etc. as well as calculators for body mass index or BMI, calories burned based on a variety of exercises and nutrient calculators that estimate how many grams of carbohydrates, protein and fat you should be eating at each meal. Aside from these traditional measures there are body fat percentage calculators to determine what percentage of your body weight is composed of fat, target heart weight calculators for determining the optimal heart rate zone for increasing your fat burning potential during exercise and ideal body weight calculators. There are even calculators for estimating dietary needs during pregnancy and breast-feeding. All of these tools can help you to gauge fitness measurements, your current dietary needs, and improve your health.
Since weight loss can be due to decreased muscle mass, glycogen stores, fat or water, measuring your weight on a scale only gives you a partial picture based on limited data that neglects to factor in your body’s composition. Furthermore, scale measurements often fluctuate due to hydration levels, which can translate to a three to five pound fluctuation in body weight.
All of the components such as fat, muscle mass, water weight etc. are important and affect weight loss. A decrease in the rate of weight loss can similarly be due to decreased muscle, improper hydration and poor eating which can all cause a decrease in fat loss and as well as a loss of muscle mass that is broken down for energy. Weight-loss can also slow when your metabolic rate begins to drop, which normally occurs after three days of restrictive eating. This is because with a very low calorie diet, you body enters ‘starvation’ mode and want to hold onto every bit of energy that’s packed in fat cells. More so, with an ultra-low calorie diet, you risk lethargy, nutritional deficiencies, fatigue and behavioral changes such as increased irritability.
It’s critical to note that healthy, maintainable weight-loss is achieved through proper exercise, including cardio-vascular activities and resistance training, as well as proper nutrition. Resistance or strength training is not as essential to lose fat as cardio exercise, but it definitely helps, especially with toning and achieving a desired physique. Weight training workouts help boost your metabolism throughout the entire day and aid in building lean muscle mass. Since muscle tissue is highly metabolic, it needs fuel to grow and is more consistently in fat burning mode. Cardio exercise helps to fuel your body with oxygen and burn fat quicker. Aside from these benefits, it is extremely helpful for heart health and lung function. Some cardio exercises include power walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, rowing, elliptical training and using the treadmill. No matter what type of exercise you engage in, its important to note that consistency is key!
In terms of nutrition and weight-loss it is vital to ensure that your energy intake is lower than your energy expenditure. Specifically you must reduce your diet by 3,500 calories over a weeks period, which translates into a deficit of 500 calories per day from your normal diet. Eating more calories than you burn means you’ll gain weight. Burning more than you eat means you’ll lose weight.
So next time you decide to start up a new fitness or diet program look for some of these tools to help you on your way for a healthier body and lifestyle, for weight-loss that lasts!