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31 Jan

Weight Loss Isn’t Just About The Calories

The trouble with science is that it has no soul.

It says if you do this and this and this, then that will always happen.

That’s what happens when science gets involved with weight loss – it says if you eat this many calories and burn this many calories then what’s left turns into this much fat.

I’m not suggesting that this isn’t true, but it isn’t as true as it seems because what you burn isn’t just about physical activity. A supremely fit athlete burns many more calories just sitting watching TV than someone who is overweight and covered in flabby muscles and fat.

It does seem a little unfair though, doesn’t it? Imagine two people sitting on the couch next to each other watching TV. One is covered in muscle, the other is covered in fat. The muscley one is getting thinner just sitting there, while the fat one is getting fatter just sitting there.

Why is this?

Muscle tissues needs energy just to live and breathe. Muscle burns calories just by existing. Fat just sits there. Of course in order to maintain that muscle, physical exercise needs to take place. The more exercise you engage in, the more muscle you build, the higher your metabolic rate, and the more calories you burn.

Of course science likes to deal with numbers, and you want to know how many calories going to the kitchen for a snack is going to burn.

1lb of fat converts to 3500 Calories (that’s big C Kilocalories for the scientists). This is great news because all you have to do in order to lose 1lb a week consistently is burn 500Cals a day more than you eat.

So how easily can you do that?

Moderate walking (3mph) burns about 250 Calories an hour; birdwatching 140; dusting 180; golf 350;  Cycling (easy, less than 10mph) 300; yoga 300; gentle skipping with rope 600; cross country walking 470; swimming breaststroke 800; weight lifting/body building 470; and housework 250.

You don’t need to join a gym to burn calories. You just need to move. But you need to move daily and consistently and for at least an hour. Remember, that Mars bar is going to take two hours walking to pretend it never happened.

But that’s just the sums that scientists like to do. You see when you do that hour of yoga, hour of housework, or hour of walking every day, you build muscle tissue. When you build muscle tissue your metabolic rate goes up and your resting heart rate lowers. So over time, you burn more calories during the day and so your weight loss increases rather than drops – for the same effort. You also get fitter, your body shape moves in the direction that you desire, and your endorphin levels increase. This means you feel happier, more alive, and more interested in enjoying life rather than spending it watching mind numbingly boring TV shows. When your body feels fit and well, you are quite naturally and effortlessly attracted to healthier foods, and the fats and sugars that used to fill your plate gradually drift away. No resistance, no battle, no struggle, just a gentle natural movement towards foods that you enjoy.

It isn’t just about Calories. It’s about you feeling good. You achieve that by making a conscious choice now to move a little more today than you did yesterday and to make that same choice tomorrow, and the next day, and…



If you’d like to find out more then check out my book How to Lose Weight and Free Yourself from Diets Forever

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