Basic Maths of Dieting

Below are some calculations to help with healthy dieting and exercise.

A pound of body fat contains 3500 calories. In order to lose a pound of fat (not water) a week you must consume (3500/7) 500 calories per day less than you expend.

The average resting metabolic rate is that every kilogram of body weight requires 25 calories per day to maintain itself. In general the calories per kg you expend per day is the same as your BMI. I am 10 stone which is 140lbs or (140/2.2) 63.5 kg and I have a BMI of 25. In order to maintain a stable weight, therefore, I can eat roughly  (63.5 * 25) 1600 calories per day.

A sensible way to lose 500 calories per day is to eat 200 calories less and exercise for 300 calories.

Walking to Lose Weight

Travelling one mile on foot expends roughly 100 calories for the average person. This is the same whether you walk or run, but naturally if you run you can do more miles in the same time and burn more calories. If you have a country walk and do not know the distance you can estimate it as follows:

Walking one mile at an amble pace takes 20 mins

Walking one mile fairly briskly takes 15 miles

Aerobic walking (as fast as you can normally) takes 12 mins.

A 45 minute session of a brief warm up, aerobic walking and a cool down will burn roughly 300 calories. If you are above a BMI of 25 or if  safely increase your weight with a weighted vest or gloves (but not ankle weights) the calories expended will naturally be more as the body as to work harder.

Foods for Thermogenesis

Certain foods increase your metabolic rate. These include cayenne pepper, hot chilies,  sweet chilies, ginger,and the juice and peel of citrus fruits. In fact lemon peel is one of the healthiest things you can eat (Google it 🙂 ).  As a rule of thumb, spicy foods increase your metabolism but it is generally recommended to not go overeat them for weight loss (I cannot remember the reason why, I think it affects the homeostasis of your body temperature). For example I drink water containing lemon juice and peel and ginger. It tastes nice and is inexpensive.


2 thoughts on “Basic Maths of Dieting”

  1. Sounds spot on. We have to create a calorific deficit to lose weight. That’s the principle that all diets work on. However, I see diet as a bit of a dirty word. Yes a 500 calorie deficit will work, and will give you a nice steady weight loss week on week.
    Obviously when including exercise into the equation then we have to ensure that we are adequately hydrated as sometimes not drinking enough can effect our weight loss goals, as we are unable to absorb enough nutrients from the food (the colon LOVES water, as that is what it absorbs, and its where a bunch of nutrients are absorbed too.. can’t think what they are off the top of my head). If you don’t drink enough, then your blood cells don’t float around as well, and your body doesn’t work so well.
    However, the trick is to find a balance, if you drink a couple of litres of water a day, on top of other drinks, then technically you also need to take in a small amount of mineral salt to rebalance your minerals (Himalayan Pink salt is really high in minerals), or you could take a mineral salt bath (it has the same effect). I also advice seeking out a saline pool, as this works wonders, particularly on aching muscles.
    Obviously whatever we’re eating we need to balance it, not too much of one thing and too little of the good things.

  2. You’re so right. Thanks for the hydration advice. I don’t drink much so I have to try lots of little glasses, like in the waiting room at the SC

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