Are you desperate to lose weight, but unsure of where to start? Perhaps you are continually dabbling with different diets, and rather than losing weight, you have ended up gaining a few pounds and becoming even more frustrated. The basic theory of dieting always seems so simple, eat fewer calories than your body requires, but if it were that easy, then there wouldn’t be millions of people across the world who are overweight.

When it comes to losing weight, the most important thing is to have a plan, and stick to it, but perhaps just as importantly you need to understand the plan. When you have at least a basic understanding of why a particular diet is going to work, you are much more likely to stick to it and achieve your goals.

The first thing anyone needs to understand is the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). The process of staying alive, breathing, even eating burns a certain number of calories every day. The number of calories will vary from person to person and will depend on a range of factors, including your weight, age, and height.

Your BMR is based on you doing virtually nothing other than breathing, but this is only the first part of the equation. It is very unrealistic to expect not to do any exercise during the course of the day, even the process of walking into the kitchen and making a cup of coffee will burn some calories.

The more exercise you undertake, the more calories you will burn. In order to calculate your total number of calories burned every day, you need to add your BMR to the number of calories you burned through exercise. The combined total is known as your Total Daily Energy Expenditure.

How do I calculate my TDEE and BMR?

“To calculate your approximate TDEE, simply multiply these activity factors by your BMR: Sedentary (little to no exercise + work a desk job) = 1.2. Lightly Active (light exercise 1-3 days / week) = 1.375

Should I eat less than my BMR or TDEE?

“TDEE = Total Daily Energy Expenditure. This is theoretically what you actually burn every typical day given all of your activity. Supposedly getting this many calories from your food will maintain your weight where it is. So if you want to lose weight, eat a little less than your TDEE, but never less than your BMR.

Can you lose weight eating your BMR?

“Using BMR to Determine Your Calorie Goal. Eating fewer calories than your body needs to function will result in weight loss. To lose 1 pound a week, reduce your daily intake by 500 calories.

How many calories should I eat a day to lose a pound a day?

“Because 3,500 calories equals about 1 pound (0.45 kilogram) of fat, it’s estimated that you need to burn about 3,500 calories to lose 1 pound. So, in general, if you cut about 500 to 1,000 calories a day from your typical diet, you’d lose about 1 to 2 pounds a week.

Can I lose 20 pounds in a month?

“This rapid weight loss should level off after a couple of weeks, however. A deficit of 500 to 1,000 calories per day is reasonable and doable for most people. This will help you lose between 4 and 8 pounds safely in one month. Expect it to take at least 2 1/2 months to lose your goal of 20 pounds.

Your Daily Expenditure Is Your Base Line

Knowing how to calculate your Total Daily Expenditure is critical for your dietary process. If you can work out that your Total Daily Expenditure is 2000 calories, then it stands to reason, that if you consume 2000 calories a day, you will neither lose, or gain weight. But now you have a critical piece of information, which can be utilized to ensure that you can finally be successful in your quest to lose weight.

If you consume fewer calories than your Total Daily Expenditure, then you are asking your body to operate on more calories than you are consuming. In very simple terms, if you want to lose weight, then you need to consume fewer calories than you are burning. If you’re aiming to gain some weight, then you need to consume more calories, that your Total Daily Expenditure.

Now of course, if you only consume one calorie less than your TDEE daily, it is going to be a very long time, before you can visibly notice any weight loss. On the other hand, your body requires a minimum number of calories to remain healthy so the next question is, what is the optimum deficit people trying to lose weight should aim for?

After all, you want to lose weight, but remain healthy, and just as importantly you want to get out of the cycle of yo-yo dieting, which is what typically causes us to put on weight, once we have hit our goals, and come off the diet.

Research has shown that the optimum calorie deficit, for people who want to lose weight safely and healthily, is to have a calorie deficit of about 500 calories per day. The theory behind this is that if your calorie intake deficit is any more than 500 calories, your body will start to burn lean muscle, as well as fat. This is bad news, as lean muscle is responsible for helping to burn additional calories.

To try and give you some perspective, a pound of fat contains approximately 3500 calories. With some consistent physical activity If you can maintain a 500 calorie deficit every day for a week, you would lose a pound of fat.

Sticking With Your Expenditure Strategy

The most important thing with any long term goal is to set yourself a plan, and have small targets along the way. If you stuck to your plan, in five years, you would be debt free. The benefit of this type of thinking is that you can see and enjoy the quick wins, which help maintain your motivation.

By applying the same type of strategy to your weight loss goals, you are much more likely to succeed, and in the process, you will end up creating positive, healthy habits, which will then ensure the long term success both for your weight loss and health.

Read any magazine or newspaper article, and you will learn about the next fad or wonder diet, but it is essential to focus on one type of diet and see if it delivers results. By working out your Total Daily Expenditure, you are setting aside emotion and numerous other human factors, and using irrefutable science to help you to lose weight.

Stop looking for quick and easy options, whatever you might read online; these will not deliver long-term sustainable results.

Work out your Total Daily Expenditure, and then focus all of your energy daily on beating your TDEE by 500 calories. If you are focused and stick to the system, you will see the benefits, which in turn will then inspire you to continue. Whether you liked math in school or not, the numbers do not lie. Working out your Total Daily Expenditure is the first and most important step towards finally shedding your excess weight, permanently.