Weight Loss & Energy Balancing: Rethink Your Approach To Weight Loss

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 8:33am

By Rose Giordano

Are you having trouble losing weight despite spending endless hours at the gym? Many people complain that regardless of all the time they spend on the treadmill or rowing machine they still can’t lose any inches. What gives?

First, there is no need for you to subject yourself to daily weighing on your bathroom scale. A better and less emotionally damaging way to get and/or stay fit is to think in the terms of energy balance. Your energy balance is basically a matter of your energy input (what you are eating) versus your energy output (how many calories you are burning off).

Energy balance is the key to weight loss

It’s important for you to be aware of what you are eating in comparison with your activity level. Energy balance can be looked at as a positive balance versus a negative balance.

  • When you have a positive energy balance, you are eating more energy (i.e. calories) than what you’re burning off. This extra energy is then stored by the body for later use…which basically amounts to weight gain. Obesity will occur if you have a consistently high positive energy balance.
  • When you have a negative energy balance, you are eating less energy than you are burning off. As a result, your body will use its own stored energy to make up the difference…which results in weight loss. If you want to maintain your current weight, the amount of calories you consume should closely mimic what you expend in energy.

Remember: You don’t just burn calories when you exercise. You also burn calories by breathing, digesting, maintaining your body’s other processes, and even reading this article!

Watch your energy consumption - the foods you are eating

To take control of your energy balance, consider these three questions:

  1. What are you eating? Consider the foods that you are eating and determine which foods are highest in calories. Next, exchange them for foods that have lesser calories but which pack a nutritious punch: veggies, fruit, whole grains, baked or broiled chicken, etc.

  2. Why are you eating? Boredom is a leading cause of overeating. Having food in front of you also can trigger an urge to eat. Snacking while watching TV is another culprit that leads to excess calories. If you have an urge for a treat, dish out a proper serving size of the food and put the rest away. This will stop you from unconsciously overeating.
  3. When are you eating? Often people eat because it’s “lunchtime” and not when they are actually hungry. Social engagements with food platters arranged all around also encourage mindless snacking. Try determining whether you are really hungry before you reach for the chips and dip.

By taking these questions into consideration it will be easier for you to get a grip on your eating habits and get into shape!