Its no secret that if you eat less you will lose weight right? WRONG!!!
Here is the 411 short and sweet -If you eat too little your body will hold on to the adipose tissue, you will not lose the weight you are hoping for and will instead burn muscle for energy. YES it goes a lot deeper and gets more complicated i.e. Ketogenic diets, Paleo, South Beach-But do you really care or do you JUST want to know what to eat and how much? One major truth is undeniable-the quality of your calories matters! For weight loss think healthy fats, lean protein and complex carbohydrates. You need fat to burn fat. DRINK LOTS OF WATER and limit sugar.
Have a healthy meal 3x a day, drink water, workout (the higher the intensity the more water you will need and consider following your tough workouts with a protein shake or meal), avoid snacking (snacking throughout the day will spike your insulin levels and force your body to burn sugar for energy and not fat). Protein will help the body repair the muscle after a workout in a leaner more efficient way. Weight lifting or strength training is important because it helps build and maintain bone density which is especially important as we age. Go easy on the weight if your just looking for general health and weight loss but enough that you feel like you worked out when you wake up the next day. Think 2-3 sets of each exercise with 15-20 repetitions plus 30-45 min of cardio (daily cardio is even better). This type of program will build bone density, lean you out and provide some muscle definition. No you won’t end up looking like a body builder-promise- you will however start to feel better.
When you start your fitness routine, remember, muscle is heavier than fat so you may not see a change in the number on the scale but you will notice how you feel and how your clothes fit. Remember, choose those types of exercise that you enjoy and are passionate about-Walk, Swim, Yoga, Bike, Strength Train, Dance, Pilates, take the stairs. Bring a friend, its much more fun!
How do you know how much to eat-well its far more simple than you would think. While I am not one for counting calories, total caloric intake is important especially when portion control is not a concept you are familiar with, you have a particular goal in mind or you regularly consume the typical standard American diet. We all have a basic amount of calories that we need to consume just to sustain life-its called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) this is the amount of calories that your body burns at rest-like when you wake up in the morning and are lying in bed, you need this much.
Here is how you calculate it using the Harris Benedict equation:
BMR (Basil Metabolic Rate): The # of calories your body burns at rest.
Women BMR = (4.35 x_______ wt (lbs)) + (4.7 x _______Ht (in)) – (4.7 x _____Age (yrs)) + 655
Men BMR= (6.23 x______wt (lbs))+ (12.7 x_______Ht (in)) – (6.76 x ______Age (yrs)) + 66
Activity Factor: __________ (see below for multiplier)
Little to no exercise: 1.375
Light Exercise 1-3 days per week: 1.55
Moderate Exercise 3-5 days per week: 1.725
Heavy Exercise 6-7 days per week: 1.9
Total Calories needed to maintain weight: (Total BMR x Activity Factor) = ____________
Subtract 300-500 from that number above to come up with total calories to consume each day for weight loss of 1.5-2 lbs per week. This would not apply if you are pregnant or have special nutritional needs due to a particular illness or medical condition in which case please consult your doctor or medical professional.
Protein needs are determined by multiplying your weight in Kg by a multiplier (this is total grams of protein not weight of protein)
Adults 19+: .85g/Kg
Pregnant and lactating: 1.1g/Kg
Endurance or Strength Training Athlete: 1.2-1.8 g/Kg
Moderate to Severe Stress: 2.0-2.2 g/Kg
Once you determine the amount of protein you need think 1 Tbsp of healthy fat per meal such as olive oil, flax seed oil, coconut oil, avocado oil. (Stay tuned for more intel on Fat in another post because we need fat to burn fat not to mention convert much needed vitamins.) Everything else should be vegetables and more importantly not the starchy ones (think roughly 50-60% or 2 cups). Make sense? Initially the number might surprise you but remember that is per day not per meal. The number will change as you change. Definitely, absolutely don’t forget to give yourself a treat meal once a week. (NOT a treat day-JUST a meal) That’s right if you want chocolate cake for breakfast with a side of ice cream, so be it. You will feel awful later but ENJOY!. If you know you can eat what you want when you want you will be less inclined to feel as if your diet is restrictive and want to binge on food that doesn’t serve you. Eat with your goals in mind. Trust your body, its smarter than you think