Natural Weight Loss; Losing and Using Calories
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Natural Weight Loss; Losing and Using Calories

You can lose weight without special diets, pills or potions. Just know how to use and lose the calories.

In the previous article about weight loss you got your BMR number. Now that you know what amount of calories you need to eat in order to maintain your current weight, you need to decide how many calories to cut out and burn for weight loss. You might find you are actually eating more calories than your maintenance level and it isn’t hard to do. When you read this and see the word diet, don’t think of that as a thing to do for a short amount of time just for weight loss, diet should be a healthy life long change in the way you eat. 

Finding the Calories

One pound is equal to 3500 calories. If you were eating your BMR amount of calories to maintain your current weight and added just 500 calories more per week for a year, you would gain 7 pounds in that year. You might think 500 extra calories a week is a lot when it isn’t. That is equal to an extra 71 calories per day, less than one piece of bread. Thankfully all products tell us how many calories we are eating, but they also try and fool us if we aren’t paying attention. You have to look at the serving size on everything. A simple can of soup says 180 calories per serving but the serving size is 2.5 servings per can. Who divides up a can of soup like that. That can of soup actually has 450 calories.

One cup of coffee with cream and sugar is 26 calories. When you are trying to cut calories every little bit helps. If you have 4 cups of coffee with cream and sugar per day that can really add up, in fact it adds up to 728 extra calories per week. You could have tea instead and in fact green tea actually helps to lose weight.

Losing and Using the Extra Calories for Weight Loss

If you could cut out and or burn 500 extra calories per day you would lose approximately 1 pound per week. The math is 500 calories times 7 days equals 3500 calories in a week. You could cut out 250 extra calories and burn another 250 extra calories per day and that would be the same as just not eating those 500 calories. Losing weight slowly is the best way to do it. At first you might lose more than a pound per week and then it gets slower. Some weeks you won’t lose any weight for a number of reasons. Everyone hits those plateaus. And as you increase your exercising, even if it’s walking, you will increase muscle, and muscle is denser and weighs more than fat does. More muscle also means a higher metabolism, which burns more calories while you rest and increases your weight loss.

Cutting out extra calories is easier than you think it is. If you want a hamburger for dinner skip the bun. Just have the hamburger patty with a healthy side dish without the bun. You just cut out 200 calories by not having a bun. You want to make a tuna sandwich, skip the mayo and use mustard instead.  Mayonnaise is 57 calories per teaspoon versus 3 calories for 1 teaspoon of mustard. One medium baked sweet potato has 54 less calories than a baked white potato. Having a list of weekly meals really helps so you don’t decide on a certain day you want something else.

Limiting the amount of breads, white potatoes and other carbohydrates could help with your weight loss, but in the long run it is not healthy to eat a low carbohydrate diet for a long period of time. The body needs carbohydrates for fuel and to function properly. Don’t just stop eating all carbohydrates since they are high in fiber, make you more full and keep your digestive system working. To be blunt, you can’t lose weight if you can’t go to the bathroom.

Some ways to fight always being hungry

  • Eat more fiber. Fiber is more filling than meat.
  • Drinking a lot of water, juice and even tea since liquid can fill you up.
  • Eat healthier snacks. Sometimes we just want something to munch on. Have something like carrots, radishes, celery sticks or raisins.
  • Have a bowl of soup before dinner and the soup will fill you up so you wont eat as much dinner.
  • Instead of ice cream for desert have low fat yogurt and fruit.
  • For lunch make a shake using soy or whey protein powder, banana, strawberries and orange juice in the blender.  

Fat and Weight Loss

There is also a belief that fat goes to fat. So even if something is equal in calories but has more saturated fat, it could be worse for you. Usually it’s calories people count, but I also believe that all calories aren’t created equal and I know some will disagree. 100 calories is 100 calories but if one item is nothing but fat I would think some of it goes to fat in the body.

With the frugal economic times I got some Top Raman. Looking at the package the amount of fat in one 3-ounce (85 grams) package is scary. It says 2 servings per package but I have the whole package. That one package has 14 grams of fat and 7 grams of saturated fat. A vegetarian or low fat Mediterranean diet could be better for your health and your heart. 

Burning More Calories for Weight Loss

Before starting any strenuous type of exercise program you should check with your doctor. There are many ways to burn calories without being a weekend athlete. When you look at all of the different charts that tell you how many calories are burned for a certain activity, make sure they also ask how much you weigh, the more you weigh, the more calories you will burn. The more muscle you build the higher your metabolism will be and the more calories you will burn even when resting.  Here are some examples of simple ways to burn calories for someone weighing between 145 and 200 pounds.

  • Walking at 3 miles per hour for 30 minutes burns between 135 and 190 calories per 30 minutes. Walk 30 minutes in the morning and again in the evening and double the number of calories burned.
  • Riding moderately on a stationary bike burns between 245 and 335 calories in 30 minutes.

As you lose weight, you will have to recheck your BMR number since the less you weigh the less calories you will need to maintain your lower weight.

Trouble Losing Weight

If you find you are doing everything right and you still have problems with weight loss, try cutting out certain carbs for awhile. Stop or reduce the amount of whole-wheat bread, brown rice and potatoes. Replace these with lower calorie carbs like vegetables and salads.


Note: It is not advisable to eat less than 1200 calories per day for a woman and less than 1800 calories a day for men.

 © 2009 Sam Montana

Recommended reading:

The McDougall program for maximum weight loss by Dr. John McDougall

12-days to dynamic health by Dr. John McDougall

Digestive tune-up by Dr. John McDougall

Eat more, weight less by Dr. Dean Ornish

Thin lies within by Carson Burke

Natural weight loss by the numbers

 How obesity became an epidemic

fast food and obesity

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Comments (13)

Good article - calories are the bottom line. You have to eat less than your body needs to maintain it's current weight, in order to lose weight. For creative ways to spend your calories budget, see and look up the "healthy foods" section, as well as the section on "lose weight"

Ranked #1 in Weight Loss

It is easy to eat so many calories and not even realize it. Going to a restaurant and it’s all right there in front of you, who can resist some of that food. Cooking at home is a good way to control and know the amount of calories you consume. Something that hinders weight loss is the starvation and or deprivation type diet, sooner or later the body is going to say enough and lets eat. I think that’s why a high fiber diet is better since it tends to be much more filling. Walking won’t cure obesity, but it will help people lose weight, it’s easy to do and it can really cut the calories out per week, per month and year. Walking will keep from getting too overweight. Keeping track of the calories you eat and can burn in a day and then weeks etc, can keep people motivated to continue. Especially when you can start to see and feel the difference. And if someone is healthy enough do a lot more than just walk. Ride a bike or stationary bike. If you have stairs in the house, walk up and down those stairs a number of times per day. You will really feel that in your legs.

Very good advice. I'm trying to eat healthier.. do do fall off the wagon sometimes though.. I just have to jump back on and keep trying.

Ranked #1 in Weight Loss

Charlene, people trying to lose weight and or eat healthier should indulge once in a while, eating something like chocolate pie or a steak. In a way it keeps them on their new diet longer. If a person really wants something like a big steak or pie I would say have it and then that seems to satisfy that craving for a long time. You just can’t do that every week. The longer you eat healthier foods and lose more weight, the less you feel like eating the fatty foods and the less you can actually eat without feeling terrible.

My problem is I'll go a week and not slip and then all of a sudden I get a box of cookies, or a big bag of M & M peanuts and eat the whole thing. I can do better if I can just talk myself down from doing that. I've managed to lose 36 pounds and keep it off so far though... I had gained 70 from a 140 pound loss... so I am trying to re-lose the gained weight.

Ranked #1 in Weight Loss

The M&M peanuts, next time just get some nuts of some kind to eat. I wonder when it will be safe to eat pistachio's again. With cookies like that, try and just have one or two of them like after dinner and then just put them away. That way you get the taste of having that flavor without overdoing it. Walking away from the table really helps and then you go and do something else. Sitting at a table with a box of cookies in front of you is really too tempting. During the day or evening we all want to reach for something to snack or nibble, thats why its good to always have something low-calorie and healthy all ready to grab.

Great advice. I should get some nuts to have around.

Ranked #1 in Weight Loss

I added a little more to the article under Fat. I do believe that foods higher in fat even if its the same amount of calories as a lower fat food can add to weight gain or make it harder to lose weight.

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I greatly benefit from your articles every time I read one. Thanks for the weight loss info, it helps a lot.

Ranked #1 in Weight Loss

Thank you eyewear, I appreciate that. I know it is hard to understand all that we read and hear about how we are supposed to stay healthy.