A woman in her 50s approached me with the desire to lose 5kg. She had already tried a number of diets, but had never been able to achieve the desired, lasting effect. According to the client, she was very careful about her calorie intake and couldn't explain why she wasn't losing weight. The customer had a BMI of 30 and was on the edge of becoming overweight.
Course of Action
First, the customer was asked to keep a food diary for a week detailing what meals she ate, when, and the exact calorie content. The customer should also list the type and quantity and calorie of each drink she drank. She estimated her calorie intake to be around 1800 kcal a day but admitted, that she never counted drinks. After a week we analysed her protocol together and came up with an average calorie intake of 2045 kcal per day. That's 245 kcal more than the customer had expected.
Next, we analysed the customer's actual calorie needs. To do this, we used the PAL method, which takes the customer's activity level into account. This method provides a more accurate picture of the actual calorie requirement than a simple combination of height, weight, age and gender. The customer is only slightly active in sports and has an office job. We calculate a calorie requirement of 1865kcal per day for her. On average, this person consumes 180 kcal more per day than needed. Added up, this amounts to a surplus of 1260 kcal per week. And here we find the explanation why the customer is stuck and does not lose weight.
Together with the client, we create a plan on how she can incorporate more sport into her lifestyle and at the same time save a few calories. We want to increase her calorie consumption a bit while lowering her calorie intake at the same time. We want to get her into a calorie deficit in order to lose a few pounds. To increase her sportive activity, the client decides to try a pedometer first. We set her daily level at 6,500 steps, which are to be gradually increased to 10,000 steps over the coming weeks. In addition, the client buys a small kitchen scale that helps her to weigh her portions more precisely and measure the calorie content more exact. Also, she decides to do without the much-loved latte macchiato To Go for the time being, which safes her around 150kcal per day.
After 2 weeks we meet the customer again, and she has made good progress: she manages to walk 6500 steps a day and now drinks coffee with skim milk in the office. After another 2 weeks, the customer had already lost a kilogram and was visibly proud of her weight loss. In the meantime, she has been able to increase her step count to 9,000 steps a day.
Sometimes it's about small adjustments that have a big effect: one less calorie-containing hot drink, a little more exercise, an educated idea about the actual calorie requirement and intake - all these considered can lead to impressive effects, even after a short time!
Feel free to contact me if you also need a few ideas for your diet, motivation for a more active life, or specific help with determining your calorie needs.