Essentials of an effective weight loss plan – Part I – Understand Your Needs

For many of our clients, weight management feels like a constant uphill battle. A task that is often paved with failure and frustration. As a health/fitness coach I hear and discuss this everyday with multiple clients. While I have seen many struggle, I have also witnessed many succeed. Over years I have been both subject and witness to many different approaches. I believe that there are many paths to success when creating your weight loss plan however some more exhausting and drastic than others. While many paths can generate success, at least short term. I most often see healthy and lasting change in individuals who understand and implement certain key strategies. When conversing with clients I consistently return to the same key pieces of advice. I have yet to see someone fail when they fully comprehend and implement the following

First, understand your metabolic needs. Understanding your metabolic needs is basically knowing the average amount of energy (Kcal) you exert on average vs. the amount of energy (Kcal) you consume on average. If one is higher than the other the result will be either weight gain or weight loss. If the values are equal your weight will stay the same. Fortunately we can generally calculate this with reasonable accuracy. Below is a link to a TDEE Calculator. This is a simple tool to determine your total daily energy expenditure. Once you have this number it’s simple to estimate the calories needed to create a caloric deficit, ultimately leading to weight loss. Take a moment to fill out the tabs and write down your TDEE score.

Now that you have your score (e.g. 1900 Kcal) we can easily determine the number necessary to see weight loss in a timely manner. For most individuals deducting 500 Kcal a day from your TDEE score will result in an average lost of 1lb per week. I generally find this to be a conservative and manageable caloric deficit long term for many clients. While greater deductions lead to faster loss they seem in my experience difficult to maintain and many times lead to greater overall frustration. In order to lose weight it comes down to this. You must consume less than you burn in order to lose weight. While some approaches are healthier than others this simple fact holds true. Fortunately technology has been of assistance in this area. These days we have an abundance of easy to use fitness trackers that can give valuable feedback when used consistently and correctly. I recommend myfitnesspal to most clients that are looking to actively lose weight. I find people generally have more success when they log food and understand their actual metabolic needs in relationship to their current eating/exercise habits.