Know Your (Healthy) Weight Loss Calorie Intake

I have been asked many times, “How much (calories) should I be eating?”

Great question!

First of all, get it out of your head that all calories are “bad. We need calories! They are energy, an important source of fuel your body cannot live without. What’s important is that you get the right calories–nutritious ones that feed your body, not “empty”ones, which have little to no nutritive value)–and the right number of calories.

You need to find the right balance of calories every day, depending on your overall goals. Eating too many calories and not burning enough through exercise makes you GAIN weight. Not eating enough calories (to keep up with your calorie burn through exercise) will cause you to LOSE weight.

The number of calories you need depends on  individual factors such as age, weight, height, and activity level.  Generally speaking, though, a good baseline for a weight-loss calorie intake starts with 10 calories per pound of body weight. This is just a starting point and will need adjusting as your weight drops. Generally speaking, men need between 2,000 to 2,400 calories and a woman between 1,200 and 1,500 calories per day.

Then take that baseline number and divide by 5 or 6 (the number of times you will eat in a day). You can have a few more calories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and less calories for snacks.

For example: a 150-lb. person would multiply this weight by 10 calories, which gives a total of 1500 calories a day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner = 400 and 2 snacks =150.

This is only a guideline. If you want more calories for breakfast, cut back somewhere else in your day. Bottom line: you want to expend more energy than you take in.  Without this deficit you will not see results.  Keep in mind, though, that consuming less than 1,200 calories per day can be harmful to your health. It can cause your body to go into “starvation mode,” which will make it want to hold onto calories. (Not good!)

I always recommend writing down everything you eat or drink. If writing is tedious for you, try using the My Net Diary app or another on line food tracker.   I can’t stress this enough. When we record what we eat, I’d say 99% of the time we will find things that are halting progress. We can’t change what we don’t know–and many times, what we “think” we know, we don’t!  I encourage at least three weeks of food journaling to really get a clear picture of the reality of your food choices and to “cement” your new way of eating. I know this is tedious, but the payback is HUGE.

Counting calories is not difficult. Knowing and watching your (healthy) weight loss calorie intake might just be the big breakthrough you need to achieve your 2013 health and fitness goals!

BB

brendaBrenda Boback is a Certified Personal Trainer and Cycling Instructor at Harbor Fit. When not teaching classes, Brenda is working one-on-one with clients to help them achieve their fitness goals. She has a special interest in diabetes prevention, nutrition, and women’s health and wellness. You can contact Brenda at fitbydesign@live.com.

 

 

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Nutrition 101: The truth about calories…

Nutrition 101: Calories

By Elle Penner, M.P.H., R.D.

One of the first things I was asked to do as the MyFitnessPal Dietitian was put together a Nutrition 101 presentation for our staff. The team enjoyed it so much we decided we had to share it with you all – and what better way to do that than in a series of five fun infographics!

Today we’re talking calories and just how they add up to pounds, kilos or stones.

Calories come from macronutrients, which many of you may know as carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Macronutrients differ from micronutrients in major two ways: they are required in large amounts by the body and provide energy. Micronutrients are required in much smaller amounts (hence the micro-) and have important structural and functional roles but don’t provide energy.

A diet balanced in these three macronutrients is important for meeting the body’s broad needs. For example, carbohydrates largely fuel our brains and physical activity, proteins are used to build and maintain lean muscle, and dietary fats contain important building blocks for all cells in the body.

You’re probably well aware that consuming too many calories leads to weight gain. Eat too many calories from any of the 3 macronutrients, and they’ll be converted to fat. Conversely, consume fewer calories than you expend and those fat stores will be used up to produce energy. Weight maintenance is the fine art of energy balance.

It seems very calculated but equating calories to pounds of fat is really just a scientific approximation.

Here’s a quick overview of the math:

  • 1 pound of fat tissue weighs 454 grams – fact.
  • Approximately 87% of fat tissue (or 395 grams) is actually fat. The composition of fat tissue may vary slightly from person-to-person, and study-to-study.
  • 1 gram of fat provides about 9 calories of energy, though it could be anywhere in the range of 8.7 – 9.5 calories per gram according depending on which journal article you read.
  • 395 grams of fat at 9 calories per gram adds up to 3,555 calories per pound of body fat, which is again rounded to 3,500 for ease of calorie counting. 1 pound is roughly equivalent to 0.45 kilograms or 0.07 stone.

If you use MyFitnessPal to count calories, you know just from inputting portion sizes that this is also an approximation. At the end of the day though, being able to look at a rough estimate of calories consumed from carbs, proteins and fats, compared to what our bodies roughly need, is a great way to find the balance in energy balance.

Check out this cool infographic that visually explains further...

Attributed to  "Hello Healthy | The MyFitnessPal Blog"

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What Your Body Wants – How to Fuel Your Workout

What we eat before and after workouts has a tremendous impact on how we feel both during and after our exercise session, and on how well our bodies recover. The goal is to maximize our workouts and give our bodies the important nutrients necessary for optimal recovery. The last thing we want is to feel dizzy, light-headed, or sluggish. The goal of a pre-workout meal/snack is to provide energy for your workout. Keep it simple and easy to digest. Minimize protein, fiber, and fat. These nutrients take longer to digest, trapping our much-needed energy in the stomach. Good timing would be at least 45-60 minutes before a workout. Eat whole grain carbs with a little bit of protein. The carbs will give you readily available energy and the little amount of protein will sustain your energy. Good examples:

  • apples with almond butter
  • veggies and hummus
  • whole grain toast with an egg
  • fruit with yogurt, oatmeal
  • whole grain/wheat cereal with milk

 

After a workout:

 

The hour following a workout is referred to as the “golden hour.” Training puts a lot of wear and tear on the body. Muscle fibers are broken down, our bodies have used up all of the available nutrients, and our blood sugar has been depleted. It’s within this golden hour that our bodies are most receptive and the absorption rate is at its highest.

 

The goal of this meal to replenish what you lost and provide what is needed for adequate repair and healing. This meal should consist of more protein for muscle repair and recovery, and less carbs to replace blood sugar and give us energy to get through the rest of the day. Good examples:

  • chicken breast with some black beans
  • turkey sandwich (made with whole grain/wheat bread)
  • chicken stir-fry with veggies and brown rice
  • protein smoothie

 

And last but not least—water! We lose water when we work out and we need to replenish. Drink water before, during, and after every workout. Water gives you energy. It is needed for all bodily processes, and flushes out the by- products and toxins produced during your workouts.

 

BB

 

brendaBrendaBrenda Boback is a Certified Personal Trainer and Cycling Instructor at Harbor Fit. When not teaching classes, Brenda is working one-on-one with clients to help them achieve their fitness goals. She has a special interest in diabetes prevention, nutrition, and women’s health and wellness. You can contact Brenda at fitbydesign@live.com.

 

 

 

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How Many Calories Should You Cut to Lose Weight?

I am often asked, “How much (calories) should I cut in order to lost weight?”

 

Great question!

 

First of all, get it out of your head that all calories are “bad.” We need calories! They are energy, an important source of fuel your body cannot live without. What’s important is that you get the right calories–nutritious ones that feed your body, as opposed to “empty” ones–and that you get the right number of calories.

 

You need to find the right balance of calories every day, depending on your fitness goals. Eating more calories than you burn will cause weight gain.   Eating less calories than you burn will cause weight loss. We burn calories to sustain life, through non-exercise physical activity, and through planned exercise.

 

The number of calories you need in a day depends on  individual factors such as age, weight, height, and activity level.  Generally speaking, though, a good baseline for a weight-loss calorie intake starts with 8-10 calories per pound of body weight. This is just a starting point and will need adjusting as your weight drops. Take that baseline number and divide by 5 or 6 (the number of times you will eat in a day). You can have a few more calories for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and less calories for snacks.

 

For example: a 150-lb. person would multiply this weight by 10 calories, which gives a total of 1500 calories a day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner = 400 and 2 snacks =150.

 

This is only a guideline. If you want more calories for breakfast, cut back somewhere else in your day. Bottom line: you want to expend more energy than you take in.  Without this deficit you will not see results.  Keep in mind, though, that consuming less than 1,200 calories per day can be harmful to your health. It is impossible to get all the essential nutrients our bodies need on less than 1200 calories a day.

 

I always recommend writing down everything you eat or drink. Try using the My Net Diary app or another on line food tracker.   I can’t stress this enough. When we record what we eat, I’d say 99% of the time we will find things that are halting progress. We can’t change what we don’t know–and many times, what we “think” we know, we don’t!  I encourage at least three weeks of food journaling to really get a clear picture of the reality of your food choices and to “cement” your new way of eating. I know this is tedious, but the payback is HUGE.
Counting calories is not difficult. Knowing and watching your (healthy) weight loss calorie intake might just be the big breakthrough you need to achieve your 2013 health and fitness goals!

brendaBrenda Boback is a Certified Personal Trainer and Cycling Instructor at Harbor Fit. When not teaching classes, Brenda is working one-on-one with clients to help them achieve their fitness goals. She has a special interest in diabetes prevention, nutrition, and women’s health and wellness. You can contact Brenda at fitbydesign@live.com.

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Lose it Quick or Lose it for Good?

I was reading an article recently that listed the top 10 “the-faster-the-better” health and fitness trends we should FORGET.   The trends for weight loss were the ones that specifically caught my attention.

 

Most of us remember (or have tried) the juice fast or eating gluten-free for weight loss. And then there was Sensa—the flavored sprinkles that supposedly trick your mind into thinking you are eating the comfort foods you love but without the calories. (These were recently featured in an article on a weight loss scams--yikes!)

 

Although most “lose weight quickly” trends may cause weight loss initially, weight gain will surely return when food is consumed.  Like a yo-yo, our weight fluctuates up … then down then up then down … then up and down … which can really mess up our metabolism.

 

I can’t help but think that we are a nation of impatient people!  We want what we want now, to see results immediately. The faster the better! Why is it so difficult to put in the necessary hard work and then be patient and wait to see the results?

 

Since you are reading this blog, my guess is that health and fitness are a priority for you–or at least you want them to b.. My encouragement to you is to make realistic goals, and create a plan to achieve those goals in such a way that the changes you make will cement and last a lifetime!  And be patient.   Be steadfast and consistent; slow and steady wins every time. This is what works!  The slower the weight comes off the better chance it stays off—for good!

 

Brenda Brenda BobackBoback is a Certified Personal Trainer and Cycling Instructor at Harbor Fit. When not teaching classes, Brenda is working one-on-one with clients to help them achieve their fitness goals. She has a special interest in diabetes prevention, nutrition, and women’s health and wellness. You can contact Brenda at fitbydesign@live.com.

 

 

 

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