Conceptually weight loss is "simple" it's plain old math. You need to consume LESS calories than you use each day. In real life, weight loss proves to be very difficult for a lot of people and there are some definite twists to the process. So, here are a couple of questions I get and their answers:
Q: If I eat well for breakfast and lunch, do my 60 min of exercise but let loose for dinner will I still lose weight?
A: Maybe, but maybe not. I'm not saying you have to be perfect but you need to create a healthy calorie deficit. If your total consumed calories for the day are under your calorie max with your individualized plan then, yes you will. If letting loose on dinner means you go OVER your maximum desired calories then you will maintain or gain weight.
Q: But what about the exercise I mentioned?
A: If your calories for the day are calculated WITHOUT exercise then you MIGHT still have a caloric deficit. But you could also break even or go over. If your calorie count for the day does include your exercise, it's likely you've gone over your goal and could gain weight even though you are trying to do the right thing by exercising (and kudos for that! You are developing a healthy habit, keep it up!).
Ex. You burn 2,000cal/day + 500cal of exercise = 2,500cal burned
You eat 500cal Breakfast + 500cal Lunch + 500cal snacks +1000cal Dinner = 2,500cal ===> you break even.
Q: How do I know how many calories I need to eat a day?
A: To get exact as possible you would need a Basal Metabolic Rate test or to get your BMR. You can get the test done at SOME universities, doctors offices, hospitals or at institutions that offer VO2 max tests for athletes. (If you're interested contact me and I'll help you find one near you.)
For most people, though, a more general approach is to go to a site like this one, plug in your information and get a pretty decent idea of how many calories you should take in each day. What's cool about this calculator is that you can change it according to your daily activity. What's annoying about it is that there's no app and you can't log it.
Now for the kicker:
Q: I don't eat very much and I often skip meals, why am I still gaining weight?
A: Your body NEEDS a certain amount of calories per day to function. Within those calories it needs a blend of nutrients to allow your body's systems to do their jobs. So, if you are not taking in ENOUGH food your body holds on to the fat and maybe even brings more into storage to help you gain fat in an effort to avoid starving. Think of it like a panic reflex of your body; your body notices it's not getting enough of what it needs so when it does get something it sticks it into storage just in case it doesn't get the nutrients it needs in a timely manner.
Need help deciphering what is going on with your body? Contact me for a free 10-15 min consult and I can point you in the direction that will get you on your way to your goals.
I am an Exercise Physiologist and mother of two lovely ladies. I love teaching my community about health and wellness and I love helping likeminded people implement natural solutions into their everyday lives.