W hen looking at weight loss often people will pick a goal weight and work towards that goal weight. Often the goal feels distant and unattainable and difficult to get to and this leads to frustration, after all, if you have worked for so long at this and you are still fat, it might be difficult to stay motivated.
To increase the motivation it is better to look at small goals, in fact I believe it's best to focus on losing one pound. One pound may sound small but because it is small it's also more realistic. If you only had one pound to lose wouldn't the goal seem attainable? If you lose that one pound and now you have proven that you can do it, decide to lose one pound again. Once you have done this 30 times you will have lost 30 pounds! Now that's exciting.
In order to lose one pound of fat a person needs to cut their caloric intake by 3500 calories. This shouldn't be done over any period shorter than a week which works out to 500 calories a day. If you have maintained the weight you are at for a while now then you have a starting point. If you have been gaining or losing lately you need the starting point of your basal metabolic rate. This is calculated by taking into your weight/height/age and determining what you need to eat to maintain the weight you are currently at. This is how many calories you would burn if you were laying in bed all day. Complicated sounding? It's not really but I like this tool for figuring it out.
This number will be low! Don't panic! There is another step! Let's say your BMR is 1584. Remember, this is the number of calories you would burn if you were lying in bed all day. Most people are not that sedentary. You can pretty much, depending on your current activity level, add 500 to 1000 calories to this amount. On a regular day, walking, housework, gardening, making dinner, eating dinner, washing the dishes, chasing children, all burn calories. I would suggest that everybody except those confined or are bedridden burn a minimum 500 calories per day.
If you are confused as to where to start, I would start by consuming the number of calories calculated with the BMR calculator for one week. By keeping track of the calories and your additional calories burnt by any activity you add and then measuring your weightloss you should be able to get an accurate idea of how many calories you can calculate an accurate calorie/activity balance for yourself.
Once you have figured out your BMR and added in how many calories you burn in a regular day, the next step is to figure out how you want to created the deficit of 500 calories a day. If you simply eat 500 calories less you will lose one pound per week. If you exercise and burn 500 calories a day you will see the same result. The best way to do this, for balance and health is to do a combination of both.
A great way to keep track of both nutrition and fitness is Spark People, a wellness website that can help you keep track of your calorie consumption and your calorie burning through activities!
Once you have the formula in place you can decide if you want to lose a pound. Then after that pound has gone you can decide if you would like to lose another. Small, attainable goals are key to long term success!
Affirmation: Small steps lead to big accomplishments!