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I'm Exercising and Dieting - Why Can't I Lose Weight? (1 of 2)

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"Why do I watch what I eat and exercise 7 days per week and still can't lose the weight?"

This is a question that plagues many people trying to lose weight. Unfortunately, the answer(s) aren't simple. There may be underlying unexplainable answers or there may be a few things you can do to get the results you are looking for.

For beginners, you need both exercise and good nutrition to be successful. The two together will give you the results you want IF and only IF you are being honest with yourself.

In this 2-part article series, let's start with the nutrition side of weight loss.
Calories In MUST = Calories Out

When a person consumes too many calories and they do not use the extra energy it is stored as adipose (fat). One pound of fat = 3,500 calories. In the big picture, that is a lot of calories for only 1 pound of fat. This is why it is important to understand how many calories your body needs on a daily basis. Everyone is different there is no specific number for one person and everybody burns and uses calories differently. There are a few things a person can do to figure out how many calories their body needs on a daily basis.

  • Harris Benedict Equation - this is an estimated amount of calories you need on a daily basis - these numbers are based on a person's height, weight, age and activity. Again, the important take away here is that this is an estimation.

  • Metabolic Testing - a more direct value to determine a person's calorie needs is metabolic testing. This is actually done more common today in health clubs and some doctor's offices. Metabolic testing is a diagnostic test where a person is hooked up with a mask and analyzer. There is a machine that analyzes a person's gas exchange (carbon dioxide and oxygen). This measurement gives a direct value.
----Metabolic testing can test a person's RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) - which is the number of calories a person needs to lay in bed and stare at the ceiling all day. Once you get your RMR you can add in an activity factor to tell you your required caloric intake.

Metabolic testing is one of the best ways to understand you daily calorie needs. If metabolic testing is not an option for you, the Harris Benedict Equation will give estimation and a good starting point.

So, once you learn how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis you will need a plan. Most people unless they have counted calories or been on a diet that restricts calories do not understand what "calories" are. Calories are what you eat and they are composed of three main nutrients including: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

You need all of these in each of your meals. It is best to include complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats in each of your daily meals.

Keep a food journal (FitDay offers a free food journal and is a great option) for at least 30-days to see exactly what you are eating every day.

Write down as much information as you can for each time you put something in your mouth. Be honest with yourself!!!

So, what are you waiting for? Get started with a food journal on FitDay today. Stay tuned for part 2 in which we will be discussing the exercise part of weight loss.

Angela Hattaway is a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer with over 15 years experience. She got her BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from Stephen F. Austin State University and she also has a Master's Degree in Business with an emphasis on Healthcare. Angela is experienced in working with both children and adults and loves working with clients to help them set realistic goals and expectations. She is passionate about nutrition and fitness and feels this comes through when she works with people. Angela loves giving clients the tools, motivation and encouragement they need to be successful throughout their lives. Visit her blog at She can be reached via email at at

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