Are Weight Loss Calculators Accurate?
Finding the perfect weight loss plan is akin to discovering the Holy Grail. We all know that eating highly calorific foods and watching television is going to make us fat. This doesn’t stop us from eating larger portions or finishing boxes of chocolates. Eating is so much more than sustenance for many of us. We eat because we are; sad, happy, bored, fat, greedy and depressed.
Portion sizes have increased over the years so we are completely unaware of how many calories we are consuming. Food packaging has recommended calorie intake for men and women on it but if we were to adhere to the advice we would still put on weight. In order to lose weight individuals must reduce their calorie intake according to their body size and activity levels.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
In order to lose weight effectively it is important to calculate how much weight loss is necessary. The most commonly used measure is, Body Mass Index, or BMI. This is calculated by taking your height and weight measurements into consideration. A BMI between 18 -24 is considered healthy while anything over that is classed as overweight or obese. By using this calculation you can find out how much weight loss is necessary but not how many calories you should be eating each day.
Weight Loss Calculators
Fifty years ago Doctor Max Washnofsky calculated that an individual should reduce their calorie intake by 3,500 calories a week in order to promote weight loss. This works out as roughly 500 calories a day. However, this does not apply to every individual so more accurate calculations need to be made. There are many different free weight loss calculators online that take your lifestyle, age, and gender into consideration.
National Institute of Health mathematician Kevin Hall Ph.D. has created one of the most accurate weight loss calculators. As well as weight, height, age, gender, and level of exercise you are also asked how you may alter your activity during your weight loss attempt. This is a particularly effective way of calculating weight loss because it takes into account that losing weight is not a linear process. It is also good because it encourages you to exercise more.
An example of a BMI calculator can be seen here on the NHS website. This tool can be used to get a better understanding of your weight, and outlines some suggested courses of action if you are overweight.
Slimming clubs often have their own methods of calculating weight loss. They are particularly good at supporting people and keeping them motivated. You can either join a real life group or access the tools online. Many people lose weight successfully this way because they are not alone and weight loss can be celebrated.
A Helping Hand
If you want to increase the rate at which you lose weight there are treatments available. Orlistat, Xenical and Alli all work by binding fat together and allowing it to pass through your body. They are only suitable for people with BMIs over 30 and on a low-fat diet. The side effects of these treatments can be unpleasant if you continue to eat fatty foods.
By Parv Sagoo (March 2018)