Everyone knows that to lose weight you have to eat less and move more. The real question is: how much? How much more do we need to flog ourselves at the gym? Every day? Five times a week? Three?

Eating your calculator is not recommended. Picture: Thinkstock

First time exercisers invariably decide they must slog it out at the gym every day, only to give up completely when they realise it’s not sustainable.

Been there. Done that.

Similarly, we know we need to eat less. But how much less? Lettuce leaves for breakfast, lunch and tea? Liquid diets? No meals out ever again? Strict diets, not adaptable to our fast-paced and unpredictable lives, are also doomed to fail.

Throughout my 20s, I struggled with my weight. Which is to say, every year it steadily crept up and every year I wondered why.

Now I know. Too many calories in and not enough out.

But how many calories are we supposed to be eating, and how much exercise do we need to do?

Like so many things, it turns out everyone is different. Different, except for one thing: we all have a number. A number of calories we can consume each day, without doing exercise, that will keep us at our current weight.

Every moment of every day, our bodies are using energy. To pump the heart, work the lungs, grow skin cells, eyelashes and even pimples. The body requires energy and it gets it from food. That is why, after all, we eat.

But how much should we eat?

Again, it depends on many things, including your height, your weight, your age, your sex.

Clever scientists have designed a way to estimate how many calories your body needs a day just to sustain itself even if you slept all day. Go here to find out your own ‘basal metabolic rate’. For me, it’s about 1550 calories. So even if I stayed in bed all day, I’d need 1550 calories to maintain my weight.

For someone who gets out of bed, but admittedly leads a fairly sedentary life, you can perhaps add another 250 calories a day needed to fuel the body to walk to the bathroom, to the car etc.

So how much should we eat? The answer is we should eat only what we need to sustain us at rest and on the move.

For me, I should be aiming to eat around 1800 a day to sustain my weight. If you are short, skinny, or a woman, you will need less energy than a tall, heavy man.

Makes sense right?

From January 1 this year, I decided to start keeping a track of every calorie I consume using the MyFitnessPal iPhone app. There’s also a website. On average, I have been consuming around 1750 a day - above the target I set myself of 1500 a day. There are days where I’ve stayed at 1500, or gone under. But there have been Saturday nights which tip the daily calorie total well above 3000. A bottle of wine will set you back 550 calories, after all!

But I’m playing an averages game - one blow out in itself won’t derail you. But blow outs every night will. The good, the bad, the alcoholic, it all gets recorded. It’s a great way to keep honest about what you are eating. There’s also a function on the iPhone app where you can search for calorie counts, or even scan barcodes on food for calorie counts.

At the same time, I set myself a target to burn 2000 calories a week in deliberate exercise, including going to the gym or on jogs. I wear a Polar heart rate monitor (they cost around $150) and it tells me how many calories I burn per session. On average, I’ve hit around 1730 a week in exercise calories burned. I didn’t make every session I planned. But I made most and that’s the important thing. It’s all about averages, you see.

So far, I have dropped 3.5 kilograms in just under 2 months. I’m happy with that. I’ll need to step it up a little to meet my target of dropping 10 kilograms before the federal budget on May 14. 

Most importantly, I feel back in control of my body. If I put on weight, or don’t lose it, I know why. I either ate too much or moved too little. The body responds very quickly to the incentives you give it.

In the end, there’s no secret to weight loss. And there’s no easy answers.

In fact, it’s all a bit of a hard slog. It’s not always fun to exercise, and I know most days I’d rather watch TV and eat chocolate.

In today’s obesegenic world, with calorie dense food freely available and with so many shortcuts available to stop us from actually needing to get up off our arses, controlling weight is a constant battle.

But with so many negative health and economic impacts arising from obesity, it’s a battle we can’t afford to ignore, nor to lose.

That’s the real bottom line.

Comments on this post close at 8pm AEDT.

Most commented


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    • Bolz says:

      05:50am | 25/02/13

      Eat a Ketogenic diet and never be fat again. I don’t count any calories just eat as much as like, when I like, and my BMI is spot on.

    • Peter says:

      09:17am | 25/02/13

      You mean low carb?
      I lost 15 kg in less than 3 months eating low carb.

    • Bolz says:

      11:27am | 25/02/13

      Yep! Carbs: 20/30g per day, Fat: 180g/200g per day and Protein: 50/60g per day.

    • Commander says:

      01:11pm | 25/02/13

      Bolz you are only eating 2100 calories per day, that is why you can maintain a suitable BMI, nothing “magical” about a low carb or Keto diet.

      200g of Fat per day…. maybe check out your cholesterol (HDL + LDL), blood pressure and probably Body fat % while you are at it.

    • Bolz says:

      02:09pm | 25/02/13

      “Bolz you are only eating 2100 calories per day, that is why you can maintain a suitable BMI, nothing “magical” about a low carb or Keto diet.”

      Well actually there is!

      Not having to deat with sugar highs and lows is what is so magical. This is what causes people to snack when they shouldn’t and usually on things which aren’t good food choices. This doesn’t happen with a high fat/low carb diet.

      Cholestrol is low, blood pressure is low and body fat is low.

    • Ben Waterhouse says:

      02:16pm | 25/02/13

      I eat a Ketogenic diet too. I love the food, eat whenever I fell like it, am never, ever hungry, never “count” anything. Blood markers are the best they have ever been.

      I’m a marathon runner too and have given up all the gels and powerade drinks and just run from my fat stores.

      Never felt better.

      Jessica - forget all that calorie counting and just eat real food and enjoy it!


    • encee says:

      02:33pm | 25/02/13

      That doesn’t work for everybody.

      I tried a keto diet and not only did I not lose a gram, I ended up raising my cholesterol.

      I’ve tried shakes, low carb, Atkins, you name it.

      I’m on weight watchers. They have revamped the program to now incorporate all the nutritional info from food instead of the old method of just saturated fat and kilojoules.

      Now to get the points value for each food they take protein, carbs, fat and fibre into account.

      As long as I stay within my 26 points per day I’m losing.

      I don’t think there is a one size fits all. People who are overweight need to work with their doctor or a professional (and by professional I don’t mean your gym instructor) and find what their body needs to lose weight.

    • Steve says:

      05:59am | 25/02/13

      Great going - keep up the good work.

    • Fiddler says:

      06:24am | 25/02/13

      the easiest way to lose weight is to raise the bodies basal metabolic rate and hard exercise is the easiest way to do it.

      Why most females who hit the gym don’t get the results they want is because they don’t do weights, or they do fifty shoulder presses with a 2 kilogram dumbell with a very determined look on their face. You have to start lifting heavy and doing hard cardio. If you aren’t doing at least 12 k’s an hour on the treadmill (if only for a few minutes) then you aren’t going to get results.

      Why most people don’t get what they want with a diet/exercise program? They try too hard, too early, especially on the diet. Cut down sugar on the first week, cut down pasta and potatoes on the second. Switch to basmati or brown rice on the third and then start reducing your portion sizes. Most people eat way too much carbs and sugar and not enough protein/fats.

      Oh, and don’t forget liquid carbs, they count.

    • Hugo says:

      09:25am | 25/02/13

      “or they do fifty shoulder presses with a 2 kilogram dumbell with a very determined look on their face. “

      Yes, but they look so cute doing it.

      “You have to start lifting heavy and doing hard cardio”

      The people I have seen lose weight at the gym have worked and worked and worked, and sweated and sweated and sweated. For me, it’s taken over 12 months of that -  with an accompanying big shift in lifestyle - to get to the point where people have noticed, I’ve dropped pant size and I feel fit.

    • Someone says:

      10:15am | 25/02/13

      You’re right Fiddler, the carbs are important. If you’re eating something with very little carbs then you can eat a large portion size, whereas if it’s full of carbs then you should only eat a little. As you’ve pointed out some variations of foods have lower carbs, for example brown basmati rice has less carbs than normal rice and as such you can eat a lot more of it.

      All food packages come with the details of how many carbs are included and all you need to do is to work out how many carb servings you’re eating at any one time. This can be done by weighing food on a set of kitchen scales. Of course this can be difficult if you’re eating out and will take some practice, but if you’re serious about losing weight you shouldn’t eat out often until you have your diet under control.

      Naturally doing some daily excercise helps but it really gets back to watching the carbs you eat. My wie has gone from a size 16 to a size 10 in less than a year by doing this and I’ve lost around 15kg. It takes some getting used to but is easy once you understand how it works. The hardest part is starting because you will find you are eating less food than previously and probably miss out on things you like, you can still eat chocolate and ice cream but in much lower quantities. Just keep at it and in a month or two you won’t even notice the change in your diet, but you might notice the change in your waist.

    • gof says:

      06:52am | 25/02/13

      You won’t need to diet, you won’t need to exercise, if the coalition get into government on Sept 14th! In fact you would be lucky to afford a glass water if you’re still lucky enough to still have a job.

    • Fred says:

      07:31am | 25/02/13

      The poor, clueless, desperate ALP fans…once again trying to link every article on this blog to the Tony Abbott monster.
      Nice try Gof, but your efforts for this week can only go up from here.

    • Ray says:

      07:56am | 25/02/13

      Sounds like Tony Abbott’s fault to me.  grin

    • gof says:

      08:35am | 25/02/13

      #Fred ,
      Monsters are scary, Tony Abbott is not, unless he becomes PM of course, then the nightmare begins.

    • Sam says:

      07:34am | 25/02/13

      “How much more do we need to flog ourselves at the gym? Every day? Five times a week? Three?”

      I used to flog myself at the gym all the time, until I got caught.

    • Roxanne says:

      08:52am | 25/02/13

      Thanks for the smile Sam!  smile

    • gof says:

      11:00am | 25/02/13

      “I used to flog myself at the gym all the time, until I got caught.”
      Even been caught flogging a dead horse?

    • Roscoe says:

      07:41am | 25/02/13

      Good work Jess.  I started on the calorie counter app halfway through last year and you’re right, it’s a great way to keep yourself honest.  I lost a few kg, which was half my goal - the other half is maintaining or even increasing my muscle mass.  It’s just as hard for men, especially as we get older, to balance the exact amount and quality of calories to reduce fat and build muscle.

      Get stuck into the weights - they really help raise your base metabolic rate.  Squats, dead lifts, chin ups and bench press are four of the best for building a bit of muscle, and don’t worry, you won’t turn into a muscle bound freak.

    • J says:

      07:45am | 25/02/13

      MyFitnessPal is great, after all ‘what gets measured, gets managed’

    • PJ says:

      09:07am | 25/02/13

      I’m looking at it now. A lot of the calories assigned to certain foods are like a Gillard promise, highly suspect.

    • lisadp says:

      09:58am | 25/02/13

      So, PJ, start entering the correct values yourself, from the side of the packet. Values for fresh/unprocessed foods will probably be correct to within a small margin of error.

    • Pete says:

      05:12pm | 25/02/13

      Given fat people are notorious liars when it comes to food intake, the first requirement of losing weight is honesty. In the clinical work I do, this is probably the most insurmountable barrier people face, particularly type 2 diabetics for whom we define a triad of symptoms: high blood sugar, loss of blood glucose control, and lying! While there are some obese people with real pathological issues, the majority in my experience are simply lazy, or refuse to equate their ill-health (current or future) with their sedentary lives and gluttony. For this population, a few home truths can be helpful, but you have to pick your mark.

    • C says:

      08:19am | 25/02/13

      Is it just me, or does that hyperlink not lead anywhere?

    • Gregg says:

      08:50am | 25/02/13

      Nope, not just you C.

    • Gregg says:

      02:16pm | 25/02/13

      Yep, good one Mick and surprisingly I would have thought Jessica was young enough she would have been thinking automatically in kilojoules like the article rather than in calories.
      I’m supposedly at about 13,540 Kj based on being moderately active and still have to shed a few kilos to get down to a better BMI but then I wonder how those BMI calcs take into account big boned bods and even my podiarist reckoned I have the biggest ankle bone structure she has ever come across.

    • FB4ME says:

      08:20am | 25/02/13

      Seriously, calories in and calories out? It’s a simplistic answer to a very complex problem. If it’s so easy then why are there so many fat people?

      Why is it that around 95% of people that start diets end up weighing more after five years?


      Just one of many studies confirming this

      To tell a severely overweight person that they have to eat less and exercise more is treating a symptom not the problem. It’s no better than giving an anorexic an apple and claiming you have cured them.

      There are so many factors that contribute to obesity and simplistic answers such as this do nobody any good

    • Vinny says:

      08:32am | 25/02/13


      If people actually followed ‘the less in more out’, they wouldn’t be fat.  Like actually did it, instead of pretend (or claim I have a thyroid issue or a metabolism issue or some other weak excuse).

      Much easier to sit on the couch and stuff your face though.

    • adolon says:

      08:51am | 25/02/13

      From your link:

      ““Eating in moderation is a good idea for everybody, and so is regular exercise,” Mann said. “That is not what we looked at in this study. Exercise may well be the key factor leading to sustained weight loss. Studies consistently find that people who reported the most exercise also had the most weight loss.”

      Sounds like the analysis you’re referencing to only looked at people who tried to change their weight through diet.

      While I’m at it, nobody in this article or the comments (to date) have said ‘calories in and calories out’ is easy. To quote from the article author:

      “In the end, there’s no secret to weight loss. And there’s no easy answers.

      In fact, it’s all a bit of a hard slog. It’s not always fun to exercise, and I know most days I’d rather watch TV and eat chocolate.

      In today’s obesegenic world, with calorie dense food freely available and with so many shortcuts available to stop us from actually needing to get up off our arses, controlling weight is a constant battle.”

      Sounds like she agrees with you.

    • Smidgeling says:

      09:24am | 25/02/13

      FB4ME- If people continue to live a life of calories burned equal or greater than calories consumed they will never gain weight.

      You are right though, it is more complicated than that. The problem is a lack of personal accountability for what people are consuming and a society which is starting to promote unhealthiness as a good alternative to being healthy.

    • Freeman says:

      09:37am | 25/02/13

      “If it’s so easy then why are there so many fat people?”

      It’s SIMPLE, not easy. It still takes, for some, enormous dicipline.

    • Nick says:

      09:39am | 25/02/13

      It’s true that saying you need to eat less and move more is akin to telling an anorexic person that they need to eat more, nevertheless it is still good advice.  If calories used exceeds calories consumed then a person will inevitably lose weight.

      The problem of course is that calories used is a moving target, some people have a body that will fight like crazy to maintain weight, motivation wanes, and habits are hard to break.

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      09:44am | 25/02/13

      “Seriously, calories in and calories out? It’s a simplistic answer to a very complex problem. If it’s so easy then why are there so many fat people?”

      It’s the right answer.  It’s complex because everyone is different, but that doesn’t make the simple answer wrong.  It’s complex if you try and answer the question for everyone, but simple if each person answers it for themselves.

      Dieting does work.  Bodies cannot magically create mass.  Some burn energy faster, some slower, some don’t process some foods as well as others.  That’s complex for a society, not complex for an individual.

    • Tubesteak says:

      10:16am | 25/02/13

      It’s because they don’t stick to the exercise+diet regime. They go back to old habits.

      It is simple and effective if you stick to it.

      There is no magic secret. Even looking at basal metabolic rates is overcomplicating things.

      High intensity exercise with resistance training combined with lean meat and cruciferous vegetables is the way to go

    • tez says:

      10:43am | 25/02/13

      The cost to register and outfit kids for team sports has become very expensive, so keeping girls in particular active and fit by playing Netball is becoming out of the question for some families. If kid don’t get good exercise habbits when young it is not going to happen as adults.

    • FB4ME says:

      11:08am | 25/02/13

      I’m sorry but any strategy that has a 95% failure rate simply doesn’t work. Blaming the 95% is not an excuse.

      Among my friends there are two girls of similar age.

      One plays sport three times a week, goes to the gym and watches everything she eats and is a size 12-14.

      The other spends most of her spare time on the couch watching TV. Stuffs her face with every junk food imaginable and lives on soft drink yet she is as skinny as anything and would be struggling to wear size 8 clothes without them being too big for her.

      Ask a thin person how difficult it can be to gain weight and you will discover that many find it just as hard as losing it.

      There are many issues that lead to obesity. eating less and exercising more is good advice but seriously find me someone who doesn’t know that already.

      It’s simplistic advice that addresses a symptom rather than the actual problem

    • Wayne says:

      11:26am | 25/02/13

      As an old service man said many years age; no-one came out of Changi with a thyroid problem!

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      11:47am | 25/02/13

      “It’s simplistic advice that addresses a symptom rather than the actual problem “

      No, the problem is simply that they’re eating more than they burn.  Simple.  It differs between people, but so what?  Work out what works for you.

    • Ohcomeon says:

      12:14pm | 25/02/13

      “One plays sport three times a week, goes to the gym and watches everything she eats and is a size 12-14.”

      Shes lying. or snacking, or eating massive portions, or just doesnt understand the caloric value of the food she is eating. Unless her body is somehow unaffected by thermodynamics. Overweight people lie all the time about their exercise and diet, I used to be one and lied about it due to the shame.

      I also bet the thin one never eats much when it comes to proper meals and gets most calories from junk food.

      Sure ‘dieting’ may fail, but changing your lifestyle and understanding the nutritional value of food never does, if you have the will.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      12:30pm | 25/02/13

      FB4ME, 6 months ago I weighed 89 kg, now I weigh 82.

      Know how I did that? I ate less, and what I did eat was healthy.  If I start excercising I might drop the last few kilos to get me down under the 25 range for BMI.

    • Smidgeling says:

      12:41pm | 25/02/13

      FB4ME- There is some natural variation in caloric requirements, but the human body does not lie. People do.

      I have a skinny friend who eats fast food every day too- but she doesn’t eat much at all. I also have a fat friend who never eats fast food- but he eats way too much and prepares it badly, and when we exercise he doesn’t put 100% effort in.

      It’s the only solution, so that 95% can suck it the hell up and put the effort in or stay fat.

    • AdamC says:

      12:50pm | 25/02/13

      Is size 12-14 regarded as overweight?

      To me, there is a clear difference between relatively healthy people wanting to lose the ‘spare tyre’ and overweigh/obese people. For the former, losing weight is naturally hard. In the latter category, I have never known an obese person who was not an obvious overeater. The medical community should start treating overeating as somethig akin to an addiction.

      I know I could not help but liken an obese acquaintance to an alcoholic or a junkie when she stuffed herself with highly calorific snackfoods throughout the day.

    • FB4ME says:

      01:50pm | 25/02/13

      I have never known an obese person who was not an obvious overeater. The medical community should start treating overeating as something akin to an addiction.

      AdamC : 12:50pm | 25/02/13

      Exactly! of course almost all fat people eat too much food. The question is why and what needs to be done to tackle the problem.

      Diet and exercise alone are great if you want to drop a dress size but not for overly obese people who not only need to lose a lot of weight but keep it off long term.

      There are many issues that lead to obesity and while too much food and not enough exercise may be the cause it’s not necessary the underlying problem

      You might say that it’s human failings that’s the issue but any solution that doesn’t take human behaviour into account is no solution at all.

    • Kerryn says:

      08:27am | 25/02/13

      2 hours walking a day and not going to the canteen.  Lost me about 10 kgs (admittedly took 12 months to do, but now I’m in the habit of walking every day) plus not going to the canteen has saved me enough money to travel.  win-win!

    • tez says:

      02:38pm | 25/02/13

      How do you find time to walk for two hours a day?

    • rach says:

      03:44pm | 25/02/13

      @tez: Get up two hours earlier. I used to think I never had time for exercise, but now I wake up an hour earlier and go for a run.

      It’s easy to make time….most people just don’t want to give up sleep / tv / computer time.

    • Matt says:

      08:49am | 25/02/13

      WTF is a calory? I thought this was an Australian website… we use kilojoules here. Perhaps an editor could add the conversion to kilojoules in brackets after each mention of a number of calories?

    • Jasmine says:

      11:51am | 25/02/13

      Calories are way easier for a lot of people. I always divide kilojoules by 4, the large kj numbers become meaningless.

      Incidentally, the BMR calculator recommends 1650 calories (6800kj) to maintain. If I ate that much I’d be the side of a house.

    • Gregg says:

      08:49am | 25/02/13

      That’s good for you Jess but just as C above found, the link is not so good, an invalid URI response being achieved.

      There was a good doco on SBS a few weeks back about a guy doing some very scientific stuff involving eating and exercise to confirm what was scientifically known about exercising and how long sessions in a gym not only do not give results for everyone but are far less beneficial for all than short sharp aerobic work outs for only a few minutes and repeated after short breaks and in total for only fifteen minutes a week.
      That was all backed up by blood and fat content tests etc.

      All you need to do now is to apply the same common sense to economics and you’ll be a real whiz.
      Basic principle is that it is always easier to live within your means and be in control than it is to let go and then have a hard slog as you put it getting back in control.

      Just how a country needs to be run in all respects and yet we continually have failing with relapses.
      Guess which party gives us the relapses?

    • Eric #2 says:

      01:23pm | 25/02/13

      I found that program very enlightening too.  One of the researchers also pointed out that if we stand/ move around more each day that obviously helped.  As he said, ‘sitting down will kill you’.

    • Ned says:

      09:06am | 25/02/13

      In the morning I ride the exercise bike for half an hour while watching dvds (TV show box sets are great for this) and I switched to a standing desk for work so I’ve got basic calorie burning throughout the day without much effort at all.

      I have a sweet tooth though so I’m trying an experiment where the only non-tea/coffee liquid I drink will be water in an attempt to lower sugar cravings.

    • Mrs Peach says:

      09:18am | 25/02/13

      The answer is get a job where you move. As a school teacher I have no trouble controlling my weight , just finding time to sit down and eat!

    • FB4ME says:

      09:23am | 25/02/13

      I’m sorry but any strategy that has a 95% failure rate simply doesn’t work. Blaming the 95% is not an excuse

    • Tim the Toolman says:

      09:55am | 25/02/13

      “Blaming the 95% is not an excuse”

      Somebody else make reality easier for me!!!  Waaahhh!

    • Smidgeling says:

      10:16am | 25/02/13

      There’s only two things that will make a person lose weight: eating less and exercising more.

      If people refuse to do a combination of these things, they won’t lose weight. If they have psychological issues that impact on their ability to do those things it is still their responsibility…

    • HC says:

      10:46am | 25/02/13

      @ FB4ME

      You’re not one of those awful “fat is beautiful and healthy” freaks are you?  The only reason why diets have such a high failure rate is because of the weakness of the human condition.  No respect for discipline, a refusal to exercise constantly and just sheer laziness.

      It’s hard work, fat people hate hard work, fat people who experience some success dieting are also more likely to go “well that’s done, back to my old habits that made me fat in the first place”.

      You’re trying to attribute people’s laziness and lack of control to food itself but food doesn’t shove itself in your mouth.

    • Kika says:

      09:26am | 25/02/13

      I don’t get it. Everyone knows what food is good for you and what isn’t. If you sit there and eat your ‘calorific’ food aren’t you aware that it’s going to end up on your thighs? I believe in the ‘moderation’ diet - a bit of bad, a lot of good and some exercise to keep not only your body fit but your mind. Humans didn’t evolve to be sedentary computer processers.

      And fat people know they are fat.

    • Pattem says:

      12:45pm | 25/02/13


      You don’t get to choose where the calories end up sitting.  It could be the thighs, then again, it could be your hips, your butt, your belly, etc…

      Kika, you also said: “And fat people know they are fat.”

      And when it’s <cue sarcasm> a genetic predisposition it is justified and excusable for not trying to get in shape </cue sarcasm>!

      On that logic, I have a genetic predisposition towards alcohol, so that must make it okay to be an Alcoholic.  Alcoholics should start crying “discrimination” and that they should be allowed to live their lives according to their vices.

      The Obesity Lobby is slowly and successfully encouraging people to be happy with their excess flubber.  How is that good?


    • Kika says:

      01:02pm | 25/02/13

      Nit picking.

      a) Yes, it’s going to end up ‘somewhere’; and
      b) I didn’t say that they don’t care they are fat, I said they are aware of it.

      I don’t care honestly. I am just sick of the overweight dictating how the rest of us should eat and live because they can’t control what they eat.

    • Pattem says:

      03:21pm | 25/02/13


      Yeah, I’m good at picking nits smile

      Agree with your sentiment…skinny people can be unhealthier than the overweight, so size is not necessarily an accurate measure of overall “healthiness”.

      Re b) I wasn’t saying that you were saying; I just went on a bit of a rant…but hey…we’re on The Punch.

    • lisadp says:

      09:50am | 25/02/13

      Thanks, Jessica, for gently suggesting we all find out what our BMR (basic metabolic rate) is.

      Most people are turned off by the idea of complexity in diet and hence the predictable comments about “calories in, calories out” and “taking in no more than you can burn off” without really knowing how many calories are going in our out!

      The best thing every Australian with a BMI over 25 can do right know is to find out what their BMR is and what their weight maintenance calories are. And don’t let the idea of it being “just too scientific” put them off. Just know it and apply it to your own personal situation!!

      Here’s a real life example as at 1/1/2013:
      height 1.68 m
      weight 72.7 kg
      activity rating: sedentary
      BMR: 1514 kcal/day (6335 kJ/day)
      Weight maintenance = BMR * 1.2 = 1817 kcal/day (7602 kJ/day)

      And now I’ve lost some festive excess:
      height: same
      weight: 66.9 kg
      activity rating: sedentary
      BMR: 1459 kcal/day (6100 kJ/day)
      Weight maintenance = BMR * 1.2 = 1750 kcal/day (7322 kJ/day)

    • Pattem says:

      03:58pm | 25/02/13


      You really know how to look after your figure(s)!

    • the phantom says:

      09:55am | 25/02/13

      So whats big Joe Hokey and other lard bargers of the LNP excuse (will give the Mad Monk a break on this)
      fair dinkum Porker Joe is so is so fat, he shows up on radar., Sophie Mirrabulla is so fat when she stepped on the scale it said, “To be continued.” , Browyn Bishopis is so fat she uses a mattress for a tampon , Malcolm Turdbull is fat, he couldn’t even jump to a conclusion!
      George Brandarse is so fat the army uses his undies for a parachute.and Andrew Rob ya Blind IS SO fat he had to get baptized at sea world.
      This lot they keep stuffing there ever increasing fat faces and make themselves more miserable.
      What an inspiration to the young people of OZ.
      Get elected to parliement eat yourself silly. contribute nothing to the nation .
      except an everexpanding waist size!
      if this lot are are so lazy and let their own health decline———-imagine what the listless pork patrol will do to this country.
      The Mad Monk aint fat just stupid@!@

    • xnl says:

      12:26pm | 25/02/13

      Really great contribution very thought-provoking.

    • the phantom says:

      01:29pm | 25/02/13

      xnl says:12:26pm | 25/02/13
      Really great contribution very thought-provoking. @

      Why thank you for the compliment !
      i strive to expose the craptards for what they are

    • Kate says:

      10:05am | 25/02/13

      The article is spot on. The day I started losing weight for the first time in my life is the day I started counting calories. I’m not obsessed about it and I have days where I don’t pay as much attention as I could, but learning what I call “good value” foods from a caloric perspective and avoiding “bad value” or calorie dense foods has made the world of difference for me. I weighed at my maximum 175kgs and was told my a GP that I should strongly consider gastric banding. Realizing I couldn’t afford that (and that it felt like a band-aid fix) made me see that the only way forward and away from an early grave was knuckling down and gaining some self discipline for the first time in my life.

    • Ames says:

      10:50am | 25/02/13

      Seriously….. if you’re not very ‘overweight’ (‘overweight’ being excess flub) then ditch the scales and focus on the state of your health rather than a number. Developing a healthy body makes your body slimmer, even though you may stay the same weight or even gain some. Simply ‘losing weight’ does not necessarily mean you will be healthier or less flubby.

      Yes, less calories in and more out will make you lose weight, but if the smaller amount of calories you are ingesting are junk, if you’re sweating it out in long cardio sessions, you’re going to end up just skinnier and exhausted. Your body will lose muscle tone, not just fat.
      Shorter sessions of high-intensity cardio and weight training (not the 2kg BS as mentioned above) combined with eating high-quality healthy foods will make you thinner, and it will also boost your health - more muscle means your body burns fat more efficiently. The number on the scale may not be as low as you would like, but you will look better.

    • James1 says:

      10:55am | 25/02/13

      My wife does exactly this all the time.  She carefully manages calories in, and tailors that to the amount of exercise she has done that day.

      Takes a lot of discipline, but it works great for her.  She uses a website called Sparkpeople or something similar, because I won’t get her an iPhone because I can’t stand Apple or its products.

    • lisadp says:

      11:44am | 25/02/13

      You can always get her an smartphone of some other design/branding. Loads of android phones out there…

      Your wife will be delighted that she can discreetly put down the food she eats while out!

    • James1 says:

      01:38pm | 25/02/13

      Thanks for the advice - I have checked and Sparkpeople has an android app (my wife is on a Samsung Galaxy).  As you note, that will simplify the trips out - up to now she has been writing it down in a notepad!

    • Eskimo says:

      11:07am | 25/02/13

      Read ‘You are your own gym’. 2.5kgs of extra muscle will burn an additional 1500 calories each month. Enough to burn 2.5kg of fat over a year.

    • Modern Primitive says:

      11:26am | 25/02/13

      It’s really very simple.

      Eat meat, eggs, and vegetables, some dairy, and a little bit of fruit. Bread/rice/ et al are ok in small amounts, because they’re grains excess carbs will be readily turned into fat. Limit your intake of processed foods.


    • Pattem says:

      12:54pm | 25/02/13

      @Modern Primitive, you stated: “Limit your intake of processed foods…Viola.”

      Are you suggesting that the viola can help lose weight?  Maybe its the heavier bow over the violin that has you thinking down that path?

      I presume you meant voila smile

    • Kika says:

      01:10pm | 25/02/13


      Or are you suggesting playing a Viola will help you lose weight?

    • Modern Primitive says:

      01:48pm | 25/02/13

      Really girls, any repetetive arm motion going back and forth will do wonders for both you and your partner. Give it a try sometime.

    • Pattem says:

      03:37pm | 25/02/13

      @Modern Primitive

      I hope your response wasn’t a (knee-) jerk reaction!


    • Modern Primitive says:

      04:44pm | 25/02/13

      Knee jerk? Perish the thought. Nothing but a good elbow or circle jerk around here pattem!

    • just_the_pip says:

      11:46am | 25/02/13

      As others have already said, it is as simple as calories in - calories out, but no one said that was easy
      I’ve always lived my life on following some basic rules, and I’ve never been overweight. Once you’re in the habit of doing right by your body, its not that hard.

      I love to follow CrossFit workouts too. They’re intense and fast, so you can always find time to fit them in.
      Also, I love this from their website:
      “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat. Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast. Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense. Regularly learn and play new sports

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      01:00pm | 25/02/13

      It’s really all about how much & WHAT goes in , what becomes a long-term resident, & what is just a visitor passing through, isn’t it?
      When in Germany I got fat. My German mother put me on her favourite diet. She called it “FDH”, she spoke a dialect but what that FDH translated as was “Eat the Half”. Every scrap of food & drink, with the exception of milk & sugar-free Coffee, Tea, & Plain water, was cut in half & I mean everything. At meal times she served the usual size servings & put another plate next to me. I then had to cut everything in half & transfer it to the empty plate That plate was covered, put in the frig & served at the appropriate meal the next day. When I started I was about 104 kilos.
      I don’t have a sweet tooth so cakes etc. were never a problem for I simply never ate them anyway! The weight fell away & I stripped off 22kilos in about 4 weeks & it has stayed off. I also started on a routine at a local gym, a practice I have kept up since I came back here over 4 years ago. I now eat what I feel I need. I make sure I never eat so much that I “Feel Full”. My BMI is all over the place & neither my GP nor the PT at the gym can understand why as both my body & visceral fat are very, very low & I am regarded as being, not emaciated, but certainly very slim so we don’t even bother checking it any more as it always tells me I am “Borderline Obese” which is crap & yes, we are using the correct formula to calculate it!!

    • I hate pies says:

      03:09pm | 25/02/13

      No doubt BMI is inaccurate - there’s times throughout my life where I’ve been fit as a fiddle (2 hrs of exercise every day) and had not a scrap of fat on me, but been “overweight” according to the BMI. I put it down to having heavy bones and sking; nurses comment on how hard it is to get a needle through my skin because it’s so thick.

    • matt says:

      03:05pm | 25/02/13

      Don’t use a BMR calculator.

      Just use your body’s natural feedback. How much weight you gain.
      If you’re intaking what the calculator says and you’re still gaining weight, you need to drop the number.

    • Anonymous says:

      03:46pm | 25/02/13

      Calorie counting is for the anal-retentive. Just cut out carbs and you can eat as much meat and veg as you want.

    • Philosopher says:

      03:48pm | 25/02/13

      If losing weight is as simple as Jessica claims, the scientists who adapted this technique should be Nobel Prize winners! What’s that? It’s not that simple? Oh… well, back to evidence-based science I guess.

    • Bonestar says:

      05:50pm | 25/02/13

      Unhealthy adiction with food? Poor you. Unhealthy addiction with cigarettes? F#%k you. If only the fatties sparked up they’d lose a few extra kilos.


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