Clapham Personal Training: Are estimates ruining your weight loss goals

Posted by Ben Simpkins on November 27, 2017

Guesstimate – an estimate based on a mixture of guesswork and calculation.

All too often we work by using this formula, you kind of know how many calories are in a muffin and a coffee and you almost certainly burnt off over 400 calories because you ran on the treadmill for 40 minutes, got hot and sweaty, not to mention out of breathe. So they even each other out right?

More often than not most women who are training for either weight loss, a toned body or just general health will guess on how many calories are in their foods that they are eating, they have a general idea of what is healthy and what isn’t and know that most skinny muffins are around the 250 calorie mark, add a coffee to that which can be around 300 calories. It soon adds up for something that usually isn’t a main meal.

Time and time again people struggle to keep track of how many calories they have eaten so often estimate what area they are in. “I definitely had around the 1600 calorie intake that I need”. Around being the key word here, what if your version of “around” was 100-200 calories out. That over the course of a week could be an extra 700-1400 calories taken in, that’s a lot!

And to top that off people seem to think they have burned more calories with their workout than they actually have, just because you get sweaty doesn’t mean you have easily burnt 500 calories.

A 60kg woman who runs 5km in 40 minutes would only burn around 311 calories for that workout, and normally after that, if in the gym, most people would count that as enough, go do a few crunches and head off, so no more than 400 calories burnt. That doesn’t even cover that post-workout coffee & muffin combo.

The best thing you can do to try and ensure that you stay on track is to underestimate the amount of exercise you are doing, always assume you haven’t burnt as many calories as the machines and heart rate monitors show you and either be regimented with what you eat and actually track everything that you consume or overestimate how many calories you have eaten.

You need to be in a calorie deficit for a sustained period of time if you want to change your body shape and lose body fat. Try to keep an eye on the calories you are consuming, be as active as possible and reduce the guess work where you can. It will make it so much easier to succeed.

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Ben Simpkins
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