Now, I want to preface this by saying I have no intention of becoming a calorie freak. To me at least, there seems to be some stigma with “counting your calories.” I don’t really know why. I mean really it’s just being healthy and educated. It seems people hear that and then think you have an eating disorder or that you are “obsessed” with food. Neither is the case here. Promise.
I also want to note that I do not plan on regularly posting such a detailed listing on my site. I don’t want this blog to become a calorie counting blog. But from time to time I may now reference what I have learned. OK, enough of that.
My thoughts: Granted this week was already a little skewed after I got fed up and knew I needed to start eating healthier. In Fall 2009, when I replaced our processed grains with whole, and got rid of all trans fats and high fructose corn syrup in the apartment — I made a step in the right direction. But I was still eating the same stuff on a regular basis, only the “healthier” versions. I upped the ante last week by going whole hog on spinach and sprouts, buying some quality meats and by prepping meals in advance and getting my 15-bean on. I hope to continue introducing new foods and new recipes.
Looking at Thursday is a good example of what I’ve been doing wrong. When I questioned how I gained weight after I stopped running (yet continued to cross train) the answer should have smacked me upside the head. I can’t keep eating as much as I did while running, but more so, I can’t keep eating junk.
Thursday is a great example of a typical day where I went over the edge, by partaking in free food brought to the office aka. “Dunkin Donuts.” I’ll be honest, I don’t even eat donuts. (Donuts accompany sausage and bacon — two other foods folks seem to love and I don’t really care for.) But when it’s in front of you in the office and you are reaching your late morning — before lunch — hunger, it’s more tempting. But the thing I noticed is that the donut and half bagel I had didn’t fill me up. They were processed and nutritionally void. That’s why I went on to eat the rest of my food for the day in normal portions, not reduced portions.
Therefore I blew it pretty bad with more than 2,000 calories in one day. Even if I am exercising, that is still too many calories! A great example of how running alone does not yield weight loss, if you are still eating junk. Understandably I think this is still OK for me to hit the 2,000 calorie day for a treat. Say a weekend trip out of town with the husband and we treat ourselves to a great meal out, wine and dessert. A rare occasion. But on a normal daily or weekly basis no way.
And for whatever reason, Saturday had the appearance of a starvation diet! However, I was not hungry! It wasn’t until I added up what I ate that I saw how few calories it was. I guess maybe because after my workout I was a sloth the rest of the day? But by writing down what I ate, I was finally able to grasp this reality and hopefully now I can put the proper changes in place.
So then I did a little bit of research trying to figure out the answers to questions like:
2) How many calories should I consume each day to lose 10 lbs?
3) How does calorie intake relate to my activity level?
I basically used a bunch of calorie calculators on various sites to come up with an average of where I am at right now. Given my current weight and activity level (I used ACTIVE, aka. exercising on average 5-days per week), here is what I came up with.
“Fat loss” Mode: 1,400 to 1,500 calories per day
Resting Metabolic Weight (calories I burn per day just being alive, irregardless of activity): 1,200 to 1,350 calories
Danger Zone: Women should not consume less than 1,200 calories per day
Oh and the issue of, “If you consume too few calories your body will fight you and you don’t lose weight.” That applies to the Resting Metabolic Rate listed above. Basically if I eat less than that, my body goes into survival mode and won’t lose any weight. Hence, the recommendation you do not do extreme dieting, and the recommendation of at least 1,200 calories per day for women.