Why you should aim to lose weight steadily with the Lifesum app

4 minReading time

The rate at which you drop the pounds is important in making weight loss sustainable.

In this post, we’ll cover:

  • Weight loss and calorie deficit – what is it?
  • How to achieve sustainable weight loss
  • Why you should go slow and steady
  • Why you shouldn’t go fast and restrictive
  • Weight loss recommendations

1. What is a calorie deficit?

In order to lose weight you need to decrease the amount of calories you consume relative to the amount of calories required for the maintenance of your current body weight. This is called a calorie deficit and we can calculate this for you in the Lifesum app. Simply type in your personal information (gender, activity level, height, weight and goal weight) and we will generate your calorie deficit. 

You can also calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate – BMR (the rate at which your body uses calories/energy for basic body functions at rest) on your own by googling BMR calculator and the Harris Benedict Equation. 

It looks a little something like this;

Men: BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) + 5

Women: BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) – (5 × age in years) – 161

You will also need to take into account how active you are to get an accurate rate. The options for exercise activities are as follows:

Sedentary (little or no exercise): 1.2

Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): 1.375

Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): 1.55

Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): 1.725

A good suggestion is to use ‘Lightly active’/1.375 to not over estimate the calorie need. 

Here is a calculation example.

Gender: woman

Age: 30 years

Height: 5″4 (167)

Weight: 143 lbs (65 kg)

(10 * 65) + (6.25 * 167) – (5 * 30) – 161 = 650 + 1043.75 – 150 – 161 = 1382 Calories

1382 kcal * 1.375 = 1904 Calories

Based on the above calculation, this woman needs to eat around 1904 calories per day to maintain her current weight. To lose weight she can either cut down the number of calories consumed per day (around 300-500 calories), or she can add exercise which will burn energy and therefore also contribute to a calorie deficit.

2. Sustainable weight loss

By cutting down your food intake or increasing exercise activity for weeks/months (depending on how much weight you want to lose), as per the calculation above, is how you can achieve sustainable weight loss.

Quick weight loss makes the body panic and as a result slows metabolism in an attempt to hold on to the weight as fuel for the future. This commonly happens when people ‘crash diet’ on a large calorie deficit for a short period of time. The body ends up in starvation mode and no weight is lost at all.

It is also likely that people who crash diet will feel exhausted and go back to old eating patterns pretty quickly.

In comparison, steady weight loss allows the body to adapt to change over time. This is the best way to achieve sustainable weight loss and is far better for body memory.

What we mean by body memory is that it takes time for the body to recognize the new number on the scale, as your weight drops. Typically, it will attempt to hold onto your old weight, if you let it. This is called the ‘Boomerang effect’— when you lose weight and then gain it back quickly. If you instead force the body to recognise the new weight, the new ‘normal’, over a period of several weeks, your body will soon adapt to this.

3. Recommendation in app

When you sign up with Lifesum and your goal is to lose weight you will be asked the question of current weight and goal weight. With this information, as well as gender, height and age, we calculate your BMR (mentioned earlier in this article). You can then decide at what pace you would like to lose weight. The bar always starts at a value that is called ‘Steady’ (recommended). All the values are as follows:

Relaxed

Gradual

Steady

Quick 

Reckless

Essentially, ‘relaxed’ represents a lower amount of weight drop per week then ‘reckless’ does. 

Please note we do have a security limit where it is not possible to pick a pace that will give a calorie goal per day that is lower than your personal recommended BMR. What this means is that different users can pick a different pace (from 0.1 kg – 0.7 kg per week)/( 1 – 2 lbs per week) depending on starting weight and goal weight. 

If your weight is low from the beginning we will not let you lose too much per week (we will never display a calorie goal per day that is lower than your BMR).

We do not recommend you choose the ‘Reckless’ method as this means you would lose more than 0.5 kg/1 lbs per week. We will give you a warning text that this is not something we recommend as it’s difficult to achieve and is unmotivating. Losing 0.5 kg/1 lbs per week is a good amount and pace to reach a sustainable weight loss.

With Lifesum, tracking your healthy habits (and the not so healthy ones) becomes a breeze. We’ll help you pick the right food, and eat the right portion sizes, to reach your personal health goals.

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