Guest Author - Patricia Mitchell
Are you exercising and making healthy food choices but still not reaching your goals? Some people can go on a weight loss program and the pounds just seem to melt off. However, most people find losing weight to be difficult and experience little to no results. Successful dieters track calories accurately and watch portion sizes. Using pre-packaged foods for weight loss can be very effective by providing the dieter with specific portions and calorie control.
Losing weight requires burning more calories than you consume. The typical formula for losing weight is simply to decrease your caloric intake and to add more activity to your current lifestyle. Therefore, for weight loss to be successful, you need to know how many calories you are consuming and have a basic understanding of your daily caloric needs. This is determined by examining factors such as your weight and current activity level.
It is important to determine your basal metabolic rate typically referred to as BMR. Your BMR is the minimum number of calories your body consumes at rest. Once you determine your BMR, you would add calories back in to the BMR number based on your activity level.
Female: 655 + (4.3 X your weight in pounds) + (4.7 X your height in inches)– (4.7 X your age in years). This will be your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Multiply your BMR times your activity level factor to get your daily caloric intake:
Sedentary - BMR x 1.2
Moderately active - (exercise 1-3x per week) BMR x 1.375
Very active - (exercise 6-7x per week) BMR x 1.55
Extremely active (physical job or exercise 2x per day) BMR x 1.9
Your result is your daily caloric intake and the amount of calories you require to maintain your current weight. You would then adjust your daily caloric intake depending on your weight loss goals. Experts suggest a loss of no more than one to two pounds per week. There are 3500 calories in one pound. Therefore, you would subtract 500 calories from your daily caloric intake to lose a pound a week. Losing more than two pounds a week is not recommended as it could result in losing lean muscle. This gives you guidelines for establishing your daily calorie goal for losing weight.
Many people have no clue as to how many calories they are eating on a daily basis. It is common to under estimate calories due to a lack of education regarding appropriate serving sizes, and not knowing the calorie amounts in the foods you eat. It's easy to forget to write down mindless snacking during the day and time consuming to log everything you eat. Furthermore, tracking calories on recipes and home meals can be challenging and imprecise.
Although, it is healthier to prepare your own meals, purchasing pre-packaged foods can be an effective jump start to your weight loss. Pre-packaged foods can give you a breakdown of serving size, calories and percentages of nutrients. This can help ensure that you stay within your allotted calories for each meal and snack. Additionally, you can get a good idea of appropriate portion sizes and help you get a more accurate daily calorie count .
There are many options available for pre-packaged meals such as, Healthy Choice, Lean Cuisine, and Weight Watchers. There are also healthier, all natural choices such as Amy's Kitchen available to give you organic choices for your meals. You can supplement your meals with salads, fruits, and veggies if you are under your daily calorie goal.
Choosing pre-packaged foods can be an easy method to lose weight by assuring you stay within your daily calorie recommendation for weight loss. Breakfast can be a pre-packaged meal, yogurt, or a nutrition bar that have the calorie calculations on the nutrition label. Simply choose pre-packaged meals for lunch and your evening meals. Make sure your selected meals are within your daily calorie goals for weight loss by evaluating the nutrition labels.
It can be very beneficial to try this for two weeks to make sure you are tracking your calories accurately. The initial weight loss with prepackaged food can be a great incentive and motivator to continue on your weight loss journey. This can help you jump start your weight loss and provide you with the knowledge to gradually transition to cooking more at home.
Stranges, Stephanie, “How to Calculate BMR and RMR.” http://www.ehow.com/how_6910880_calculate-bmr-rmr.html
Accessed 17 January 2014