The average person burns 80-120 calories per hour living a sedentary lifestyle. Yes, you burn calories while doing NOTHING, just your body’s normal brain and other organ’s functions consumes calories, even while sleeping. If you’re satisfied with this process and can control your weight with this lifestyle, then you are one of the few. Congrats.
Let’s take an average of 100 calories per hour that you burn sedentary and multiply it by 24 hours in a day and we get an average of 2,400 calories per day that we burn. This does NOT include the calories you’d burn from a formal exercise program or casual walking around the house or your office while at work. Now 2,400 calories again is just an average; I’ve seen the lows at 1,600 for older, smaller women, all the way up to 3,000 calories burned by larger framed men. I discussed how genetics plays a pivotal role in the calorie burning process in one of my previous articles. I will get back to burning calories shortly so let’s look at the best example of the tweaking process and how we can apply this to an average “hamburger” diet.
Speaking of, here we see a fully loaded hamburger. Some of you may say “delicious,” while others may say, “I’ll pass.” You could be an ‘in-betweener’ that understands the definition of moderation and will have an occasional indulgence. Find out which category is you and lets analyze something.
Now, there is nothing wrong with an occasional cheat meal, however some people like cheat days – I don’t. My positioning is, if you cheat the whole day, you’re most likely cheating on every meal (and you probably didn’t hit the gym that day either), whereas a cheat meal you should consume earlier on in the day and you’ll have the rest of the day to burn it off and not feel guilty while looking into the mirror the next day. So cheat meals are good in moderation (few times a week), and for breakfast or lunch only, is preferred.
Let’s go back to the hamburger. If we wanted to tweak (remove certain food items to reduce its overall calorie count), this hamburger a bit but didn’t want to completely omit it from the menu, these are some options.
An average double meat double cheeseburger is around 1,000 calories give or take. Yes – 1,000 calories. The bread, double meat, double cheese, the mayo or sandwich spread adds up really quick. We didn’t talk about bacon now either. What happens if we took the top bun off and replaced it with lettuce? What happens if we did away with both buns and had essentially a lettuce wrap, how many calories would we have shed, 150 or so? It doesn’t sound like much but it’s a start. If we went back to the 5,000 calorie per day nutrition plan that we previously discussed and we shed 150-200 PER MEAL, then we could shed 500 calories per day, roughly, and not really notice a major difference in the meals you normally eat and not starve yourself either.
Now if you want more results, use the same formula and tweak some more. Eating fast food may not give you that many alternatives but you could do without the mayo, you could have a single slice of cheese instead of two, you could do with one paddy and not a double, etc. If you prepare these items at home, you can tweak this even more. How about fat free cheese instead of regular cheese? How about a leaner version of beef (or chicken), instead of fattier versions? How about mustard instead of mayo or if you prefer mayo there is a lighter version of that also. Using this process and a little bit of desire, you can take a typical 1,000-calorie hamburger down to around 500 calories with a few slight changes and not jeopardize the taste. If this process is applied for every meal, guess what? You’re still eating your favorite foods and losing weight. How so, because it’s a reduction in calories for the day (or it better be). Now once you hit that plateau from dieting, (usually happens down the road a bit), meaning you aren’t losing the weight as fast; this is a normal phase. The last few pounds are always the hardest to lose (or gain), depending on your goals. You just have to ‘tweak the tweak’ and really fine-tune your diet plan even more.