3 things you must know before starting a diet

What is “Energy Balance”

YAP-YAP.pngEnergy Balance” is the balance between the energy or calories we introduce to our body through food, which is the energy in, and the energy or calories we burn through physical activity and other biological processes, which is the energy out.

  • When energy in equals energy out over time, then our body’s weight stays the same;
  • When energy in is more than energy out over time, then we experience weight gain; and
  • When energy in is less than energy out over time, then we have weight loss.

To calculate how many calories our body needs, in order to reach and keep the ideal weight, we must consider the following three components:

1.       The Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the quantity of calories that we need to survive, when we are resting (both physically and mentally). To calculate the BMR of a person, we must multiply the body’s weight by 10 and then add the result to the body’s weight, once for women and twice for men. For example, if a woman’s weight is 60kg, we have to multiply 60 X 10 = 600 + 60 = 660; so the BMR of that woman is 660. If a man’s weight is 80kg, we have to multiply 80 X 10 = 800 + 80 + 80 = 960; so the BMR of that man is 960.

To calculate the amount of calories a person needs, we must multiply the person’s BMR with:

·   1,2 if there is no or little activity;
·     1,3 if there is light activity;
·     1,5 if there is moderate activity;
·     1,7 if the person is very active; and
·      1,9 if the person is extra active.

For example, for a woman with BMR 660 and moderate activity, we have to multiply 660 X 1,5 = 990kcal; so, her organism needs 990kcal daily, in order to curry out its functions and if she eats only 990kcal daily, it means that she lose weight.

Of course, there are other factors to take into consideration, which influence a person’s BMR, such as the age (the BMR decreases with age), gender and muscular mass (BMR is lower in women and people with no physical activity), nutrition (the BMR decreases during diet); climate (in countries with high temperature the BMR is less), endocrine glands secretion (the BMR increases due to the thyroid hormone, before periods and during the last 3 months of pregnancy), by the actions of some chemical substances (BMR increases with caffeine).

2.       The energy we spend during physical activities, such as walking (30 minutes of walking require 100kcal); and

3.       The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), which is the energy that our body needs to digest food. To calculate the TEF we must multiply the total of the calories consumed per day per 10%. For example, if we eat 500kcal, 10% of them will be burned off by the TEF, leaving 450kcal.

As we understand, weight loss is a complicate process, which involves proper nutrition, exercise and healthy lifestyle. The first step in a healthy weight loss plan is to determine the reasons for the diet and agree a realistic weight loss, which will allow the subject to lead a healthy life.

Let’s try to design a weight plan for someone who wants to lose weight.

Our subject ia a male clerk, 48 years old, weights 90kg, his height is 1,75m, he does not smoke; he suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, but his cardio-circulatory status is generally good. Current physical activity is sedentary. The total daily intake of kcal is 3,500 approx. and the alcoholic intake is occasional.

For the subject, in order to achieve in his goal, it is necessary to increase the metabolic rate and to adopt a well-balanced diet that will be incorporated into his way of life. Also, some lifestyle changes may be required.

Given his clinical condition, he must lose weight, at least 10kg. His diet must be low in salt, saturated and hydrogenated fats, he must avoid all dairy products and must include lots of oily fish, fresh fruits and raw vegetables, in order to ensure that he is not deprived of essential vitamins, minerals and fibres.

Given the fact that his life is sedentary, a gentle introduction to physical activity is imperative. In this case, taking up yoga is recommended, in order to increase his metabolic rate and to prevent or alleviate morning stiffness. Other forms of gentle exercise, such as swimming for half an hour every day is ideal, since does not strain joints in subjects with arthritis.

It is important that, any weight loss happens very slowly (no more 500gr per week) in order to achieve a long-term weight loss, to preserve muscle mass and to lose body fat. This can be achieved by eating only when physically hungry, in a controlled manner, by reducing the calories intake by 15% (in our case to 3,000kcal) for a period long enough to enable the subject to reach his target weight and replacing a number of high-calories food with salads and fruits. In addition to the recommended physical activities, our subject must increase the times he eats to 4 a day, which promotes thermogenesis (by eating the right food in the right amount, the body produces more heat) which in turn increases the metabolic rate of the body, facilitating weight loss.

The follow is an example Menu, which provides for an increase in proteins and carbohydrates (which induce a rise in the blood glucose, which in turn induces a decrease in the appetite); foods must be boiled or steamed, never fried; salads must preferably be eaten raw, with olive oil and alcohol must be avoided or kept to a minimum (1 glass of a good quality’s red wine with lunch). Herbal teas are very important and must be included.

IMPORTANT: Do not stop taking medication prescribed by your doctor.

Breakfast: 2 slices of wholemeal bread with honey or a bowl of sugar-free porridge made with water and with the addition of currants and raisins; 1 banana; Dandelion tea.

Morning snack: a fruit salad made with apple, pear, peach some grapes and 1 slice of melon ; some almonds and walnuts.

Lunch: 50gr of wholemeal pasta or rice with vegetables; breast of roasted chicken with steamed beans or salmon with a mixed fresh salad; a slice of bread;1 fruit; an infusion made of alfalfa, nettles and bogbean.

Afternoon snack: Dried fruits (black currants, raisins, apricots, prunes); a fresh fruit juice combination, such as pineapple, apple and strawberries.

Dinner: Artichokes with potatoes and broad beans or lentils soup; a slice of bread; a fruit; chamomile and lime flowers infusion.

All the above is for information only and is not intended as a replacement for professional medical treatment and advice.

ANTIQUE APOTHECARY® Herbalists do not diagnose disease, but we work with herbs and nutritional healing to support health and to improve your life’s quality.

All the information presented herein by ANTIQUE APOTHECARY® is intended for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent diseases.

©ANTIQUE APOTHECARY LTD 2013-2017. All rights reserved.




One thought on “3 things you must know before starting a diet

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