You are what you eat – the skinny on losing weight

Mardi Gras has been over for while, and it’s time to put down the king cake and get those summer bodies ready.

Putting the king cake down shouldn’t be too hard after seeing this guy.

Louisiana National Guard Sgt. 1st Class Reggie Nolan, Master Fitness Trainer (MFT), wants to take this opportunity to remind Guardsmen that achieving weight loss is always an attainable goal, but that it is important to do it in a healthy way. Read below for Nolan’s tips to successful weight loss, and how to maintain a healthy weight.

Tip 1: Weight loss is no harder than simple math

Losing weight can be done in many ways, but the best way to do so is to monitor your caloric intake. This is no harder than simple addition and subtraction.
Ugh. Math.
For example, I’m 47 years old, 67 inches tall and weigh 145 pounds. To maintain that weight, my daily caloric intake needs to be 1,910 calories a day, without exercise. If I eat more calories than that, I will gain weight. If I eat less than that, I will lose weight.

Tip 2: Weight loss is not achieved through exercise alone

If you are trying to lose weight, you’ll find a lot more success if you count calories instead of exercising alone. Running burns the most calories/hour at roughly 100 calories per mile. One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories.

Using some simple math, it takes around 35 miles of running to drop a pound of fat. With that in mind, it is much easier and more sustainable to regulate weight with diet, and use exercise to maintain cardiovascular fitness and strength. I’ve found that for me a diet full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains works best.

Tip 3: But Sergeant, I’m not an MFT, how do you expect me to know how many calories I’m eating?

Too easy, Troop. There are several free calorie counting apps for iOS and Android phones that have most foods on the market already loaded into them, so all you have to do is download an app to know how many calories you are eating in a day. They will also tell you how many calories you should be eating per day based on your weight and weight loss goals. I’ve found that the best way to hit my calorie goal for the day is to load the food I’m going to eat BEFORE I EAT IT. Most Soldiers that I train are surprised how many calories they consume the first day they log their calories.
Read the nutrition labels on the foods you eat before you buy them. If you see `high fructose corn syrup’, `artificial dyes’ or `hydrogenated’ and `partially hydrogenated’ in the ingredients list, avoid those foods.

Tip 4: What else do I need to know?

Not much else. Personally, I use the MyFitnessPal app. It works for me because I can connect my favorite fitness tracking apps and devices (running watches, etc.) to it and it will automatically adjust the amount of calories I have left to eat in a day after tracking how many calories I’ve burned. It takes all of the thinking out of it. Additionally, Soldiers looking for help with sticking to their diet can friend me on the app so I can monitor what they are eating and give guidance as necessary. Finding me on the app is easy – just search for reggiernolan in the app friend search bar. Guardsmen can also contact me at 318-381-2816.

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