Generally speaking and via my own observation, most folks can be separated into one of two very distinct camps.
1. Those who incessantly try to lose 5 pounds.
2. Those who have never thought for a moment about losing 5 pounds.
The reason I bring this up is multi-faceted.
First, there are so many disturbing myths about how one can go about losing weight. I recently read another blogger's post about a 10-day cleansing diet they tested out. This blogger lost 8 lbs in about two weeks. Two weeks later, they'd gained it all back and then some.
Authors and "doctors" have made millions of dollars off of fad diets and quick fixes. Every time I see a commercial for the next version of ephedrine to hit the market, I can't help but feel really sorry for anyone who actually gives it a whirl. Human beings are actually supposed to eat. Like, real life food. Even food that tastes good! Shocking, but true.
Here's the story. I, for some reason, have a minor obsession with reading about nutrition, health foods, calories and so on. I've read so many articles, sometimes I can hardly keep them all straight. But I find it incredibly interesting and enlightening, and it's helped me keep my head (somewhat) when it comes to weight and weight loss.
Just for kicks, I'm going to tell you (even if "you" just happens to be...well...me) what I know to be true. The body is an amazingly intelligent, rather self-sufficient entity. We've been around for a long time, us humans. Over the years, we've grown less and less active. It's not really our fault. Cars came 'round, the internets, the cell phone, the Metro, the Segway...and so on. That, plus we no longer have to forage for food. (Although some still do, and I hope I get to try it out some time!). Add all of these factors up, and you have a lot of people who barely get out of their chairs each day.
Of course, there are those of us who spend hours in the gym or on the bike. These folks should, in theory, be able to stay lean. However, I'm sure you've noticed that this isn't always the case. I've seen many a large marathon runner cross the finish line. They're burning thousands of calories a week while training. How can this be?
Here's the bottom line, people. It's been said before, and I'm going to say it again. You eat too much.
Yes, I know, it's hard to hear it. But it's undeniably true. Whenever I complain to my trainer that my butt won't fit into my jeans, she reminds me how easy it is to losen them up a bit. You simply have to do three things. Just three. Three easy steps! No diet pills included.
First, figure out your basil metabolic rate (BMR). This will tell you the number of calories your body burns when it is doing nothing. Literally, nothing. Just doing it's thang.
Second, using this BMR, find out what your daily caloric intake should be to maintain your current weight. Chances are, you're not doing nothing all day. You either walk to work, ride your bike, brush your teeth...or at least get your butt out of bed to make breakfast. So, the daily caloric intake calculator takes into account how much activity you get each day.
Step three. Subtract 500 calories per day from the daily caloric intake number you just discovered. If you eat 500 fewer calories per day for a week, you will lose one pound (there are about 3500 calories in a pound of stored body fat) in said week.
Sounds simple, doesn't it? The truth is, it is. It's simple science. Math, even. Grade school math.
Of course, I get that sometimes it's very hard to say no to the chocolate bacon cupcake craving. Of course it is. But here's the deal - you can eat that cupcake...you just might have to have it for dinner! I wouldn't advise this, of course. But if you really, truly want to lose the 5 pounds, then for 5 weeks, eat 500 fewer calories every day.
Now, some of you (again, possibly just me, depending on whether or not I'm the only one who reads my blog) may have never thought about losing 5 pounds, let alone a pound, in your life. Chances are, you are a male. And males, let me just say this - you are frigging lucky.
Happy calorie counting!