Posted by: lisa | 2007/04/11


hi doc
please help ive started excerszing at home on a home machine.
i burn 500 calories every second day but it takes me two hours
to do so is this right and is 500 calories enough im 10kg over weight

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Our expert says:
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Hi Lisa

Well done on exercising, I'm pleased you have started. I want to encourage you to not worry too much about the calories. It's really very difficult to measure exactly - even that figure of 500 is just a guess, and it is very low. I suspect that it's probably not accurate - you would normally burn between 7 and 12 Calories per minute, even doing easy exercise, and that's about 900 Cal in two hours.

But the point is that you should probably not be counting calories. You have to realize that slow and steady progress is the key. It is a useful idea to become educated about what you are putting into your body, and then to be sure that it’s not excessive. The general recommendation is that for a sedentary, inactive person, you should aim for about 29 calories per kilogram (A 70 kg person, for example, would need about 2000 Cal per day). If you check out your diet, and read up how much you are putting in, and it’s around 2500 or even 3000, then you will never lose weight (or you would have to exercise like a demon, which is probably not an option). It’s also not a good idea to be consuming way under 2000 Cal per day, because this will cause the body to slow its metabolism down, as I mentioned earlier.

So, the key is to cut down on those calories very slightly (and this is simple enough to do if you take practical steps – slightly smaller portions, less variety, eat foods like apples and citrus fruits that are high in fibre etc.), and to increase your energy expenditure by means of exercise. Just 30 to 45 minutes, 4 or 5 times a week is enough to increase your overall energy expenditure by a large amount. For example, 30 minutes of walking burns about 300 Cal, and the effects last longer than just the actual exercise time. Therefore, if you are inactive now, and you suddenly start exercise by walking 30 minutes, you will be using 300 Cal more than you were previously. At the most simple, this means that if you diet stays the same, you will lose weight.

I hope that this has helped a little – I have tried to just give you a general idea. For a specific diet and eating plan, a dietician is far more qualified than I am to advise you, and I would suggest getting in contact with one to discuss this.

Good luck

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