When I was a kid I didn’t think about my controlling my weight until my mom and I went shopping for a new pair of jeans. I was about 10. I couldn’t fit into the regular-fit jeans; I had to have “Huskies”. I felt so embarrassed when we checked out. Since then I’ve had to manage my weight or the more time that passes, the tighter my clothes get. Here are some important facts for anyone looking for weight control.
I stopped cigarette smoking on my 35th birthday gaining a quick 30 pounds and that led to needing to know and understand the basics of true weight management. That’s when I did hours of research and learned these fundamentals:
A pound of fat is about 3500 calories. Take in 3500 calories more than you burn and you gain a pound. Just an extra 500 calories a day for a week and you gain a pound.
Just being alive my body will burn calories in normal metabolism. I can get an approximate number of calories that my body should be burning by looking at charts of my weight, height, and age. (Yes, we burn less calories daily as we age- sorry.) The chart numbers are not exact since every body is different. I’m 6’2” and might have a metabolism that would burn 2000 calories normally every day, or it could be 2400. The only way for me to know for sure is to closely monitor my caloric intake. The only way to do that is with a log of everything I eat and an accurate scale weighing myself every morning at the same point in my day.
Here’s an exciting fact. Add a pound of muscle and your basil metabolic rate (the number of calories you can consume daily without gaining or losing weight) will usually increase by 30-50 extra calories. In other words add 10 pounds of muscle and you will likely be able to handle an extra 500 calories daily without gaining weight. The bad news: as we grow older, adding that much muscle is not easy.
I took those basics and came up with a weight control plan to add resistance training to my work-out program in the hope of building some muscle, and I put together a log of everything I ate so I could figure out what my true basil metabolic rate was. Sounds smart, right? Well the two major mistakes I made was first, thinking that I could watch things just until I lost the weight I wanted and second, looking at what I ate and not realizing the huge amount of calories that can come with what I would drink. A chocolate malt is a favorite of mine and just one can be 1200 calories!
Weight control for those of us who are weight challenged is a life-long process. It takes an honest commitment and then determination and discipline. An alcoholic can learn to live a life without ever consuming alcohol. A cigarette smoker can quit and never smoke again. But someone who has a problem with weight control can not stop eating. We must control our weight one day at a time, one choice at a time.