Winning the battle of the bulge is not that hard

Published 10:55 am Monday, June 21, 2010

The headline might get a few people agitated. So be it.

I would rather be blunt and offend than be contrite and lie. The facts are this: Numbers don’t deceive. If a person burns more calories then they consume in a day, weight loss occurs. If they take in more than they burn, weight gain occurs. Winning the battle of the bulge is not that hard.

As simple as this concept is, many people are utterly confused when it comes to maintaining a healthy body weight. To illustrate this point further, think of your body as a checking account. When you add funds (food) your balance (weight) increases. Spend too much (exercise) and you become overdrawn (lose weight). This is one checking account where being overdrawn is actually a positive experience!

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One pound is equal to 3,500 calories. Period. To lose one pound, you must burn 3,500 calories more than your body needs to maintain itself. While the amount of calories an individual needs daily varies from person to person, the calculation to lose one pound stays the same.

Some individuals have a misguided notion that muscle weighs more than fat. Nothing could be further from the truth. One pound of fat weighs one pound. One pound of muscle weighs one pound. Muscle tissue is more dense than fat (adipose) tissue, but again, a pound is a pound.

Winning the battle of the bulge is then a two-fold process: consume less and burn more. When both of these rules are followed, it melts body fat much faster than just dieting or exercise alone. (Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietitian, nor am I giving nutrition advice.) That said, let’s look at how some very simple adjustments in lifestyle can help you begin your transformation journey.

A typical meal at a fast food restaurant can pack in nearly 1,500 calories! Add to this the obsession Americans have for snacking between meals, drinking sodas and sitting on the couch, and you can see how quickly calories can add up. What would happen if you still ate out once per day, but instead of drinking a soda, you drank water?

You would drop nearly 450 calories per day from your diet! This may not seem like much, but after eight days, you would slash the equivalent of one pound from your body. Add to that just 30 minutes per day of some sort of physical activity, and soon you’ll see your bodyweight dropping steadily. The key to getting the weight to come off, and keeping it off, is consistency. Winning the battle of the bulge is not that hard.

If you are contemplating beginning an exercise program or have questions regarding healthy food choices, you should seek clearance from a physician and nutritional advice from a registered dietitian. Then pay a visit to your local fitness center and speak with a certified personal trainer, who can answer your fitness questions and help you map out a plan for success.

Michael Lee is a certified personal trainer with Anytime Fitness.