As part of Loughborough University’s Christmas and New Year health and wellbeing campaign, we have put together a fundamental guide which doesn’t involve cutting carbs, seaweed wraps or detoxes.
This basic plan will walk you through the process of using-up more calories than you take in.
“It’s physics”, says Dr James King, a lecturer in exercise physiology at Loughborough University.
“But there are a few mistakes people commonly make despite the basics being straightforward.”
One such pitfall is guessing, or being unaware of, your calorie intake and expenditure.
It is important to know how much energy (in calories) you spend each day, and how many calories you eat.
To do that, there’s a helpful chart (below) which shows, on average, how much you burn during a particular exercise for a particular weight.
Dr King recommends running, cycling, rowing, swimming and any other sports which involve prolonged periods of gasping for air – these are the activities which force your body to burn fuel.
“It’s these exercises that are continuous in nature that ultimately lead to great amounts of oxygen consumption - more air going in-and-out of the mouth,” he said.
“That’s when you’re burning energy, because you’re consuming oxygen – you’re breaking down carbohydrates and fats.
“They are the types of exercises that are going to assist with greater energy expenditure which will ultimately contribute to weight loss.”
Next, it’s time to tackle your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
By planning your meals, you should be able to keep within the 2,500 kcal-a-day limit for men, or 2,000 kcal-a-day limit for women.
If you eat less and exercise, your daily calorie total will lessen.
The aim is cut about 500 calories from your diet each day – and in theory that would help shed about 1lb-a-week.
It’s worth noting at this point that this is a purely physiological guide – the psychology of sticking to the diet is another beast altogether.
Loughborough University’s Christmas and New Year health and wellbeing campaign is aimed at using the knowledge and experience of academics and professionals to give advice about physical and mental wellness over the festive season and into next year.