We finished Week One of Biggest Loser “26” with some good results right out of the gate. The goal for the first week was to get moving, and start tracking their calories. They did that by jumping into the Boot Camps and downloading the free app from MyFitnessPal.
It’s been my experience that most people are just guessing about how much they’re eating and burning. Many have never paid attention. But that attention is exactly what they need, especially if they have a big goal.
People usually underestimate how much they consume, but overestimate how many calories they burn. You can see that this could cause a problem, especially over time.
You have to do much more than you think, to burn off a candy bar (or its equivalent). You have to do even more to burn fat from your fat stores. In fact, experts say it takes at least 10,000 steps a day to burn enough fat to lose weight.
So tracking your Calories-In and Calories-Out will help you get a better feel for things, and show you what you need to do to get and stay in a calorie deficit. Later, you won’t necessarily need to keep track as closely, but when starting out, it’s critical.
Calorie deficits are pretty simple. You need to burn more than you consume. If you end the day with a 500 calorie deficit, and do it for seven days in a row, you’ll lose about a pound of fat. Highly motivated people with more activity can often end the day with a 1,000 calorie deficit. This equates to about two pounds a week.
The trick is getting into deficit without going below your minimum. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines say that women should never go below 1,200 calories/day, or 1,800 for men. But that’s cutting it pretty close.
Over the years, we’ve had pretty good results with ladies staying up around 1,500-1,650 calories, and guys around 2,200-2,400. These are low enough levels for most people to lose weight, but high enough where you feel satisfied. That’s important, because if you’re too strict, sooner or later you’ll crack.
Note that bigger (taller) people may need a little more, and smaller (petite) people can get by on less. Nursing mothers also need to make sure they get enough extra for their babies. As always, check with your doctor to make sure you’re following expert advice that pertains to your situation.
There is actually an interesting mechanism that kicks in if someone stays below their minimum. Their body somehow senses the shortage, and adjusts their metabolism down to conserve energy (stay fat). Don’t let this happen to you. Hit your minimum!
So Week One is in the books, and hopefully, the participants are developing some new habits that will become lasting ones. Eating right and exercising smart is a life-long journey.
Our Week One Winner for Biggest Loser “26” was Hannah Brewington, who lost 3.8 lbs and 2.7% of her body weight. Kaylee Peterson took second place with 2.6 lbs and 2.0%; and Jaylee Wilson was third, losing 3.4 lbs and 1.8%.