Is Weight Loss Really About the Calories?
Are you confused about how many calories you need to lose weight? For busy moms, following a healthy weight loss diet plan can be a difficult task to maintain. It’s no secret that when you’re trying to shed those excess pounds and fit back into your favorite dress, knowledge is key – especially when we’re talking about calories.
The first step to successfully shedding weight is to figure out what your BMR is. BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate, which essentially means how many calories you would burn if you literally did nothing all day long and stayed in bed. Go to http://www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator/, and once you determine your BMR, you should multiply it by the appropriate activity factor:
- Little or no exercise: 1.2
- Light exercise/sports 1-3 days a week: 1.375
- Moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days a week: 1.5
- Hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week: 1.65
- Extra active training 2x per day, extremely physical job etc. :1.8
This BMR number will show you your weight maintenance calories. To lose weight, a healthy goal is to eat 15%-20% less than your BMR. Stay away from extreme calorie cutting because this can be hazardous to your health and make you tired and irritable.
While women generally have lower caloric requirements than men, choosing healthy foods will stretch your daily calorie count and keep you more satisfied and energetic. A great website is to track the caloric and nutritional content of your meals is http://www.calorie-count.com/.
Alternatively, you could download the app MyFitnessPal to your smartphone and tally up your calories on the go.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Grill, bake, roast, broil or boil your food – don’t fry it!
- Breakfast still is the most important meal of the day 😉
- You should spread your meals out throughout the day by eating every 2-3 hours
- Drink water in between bites of food. A lot of people overeat because they consume until they are not hungry anymore and don’t give their body enough time to feel satisfied. By slowing down your eating you reduce the risk of over consumption
- Drinking water can aid digestion
Every meal should consist of protein, fat, and good carbs. Some good foods to include in your diet:
- Lean Proteins: Boneless, skinless chicken or turkey, egg whites, tofu, protein powder, ostrich, buffalo, top round beef (aka London Broil), canned tuna, fish and shellfish (including fatty fish like salmon, catfish and mackerel), cottage cheese, yogurt
- Starchy Carbs: Oats ,brown rice; quinoa; sweet potato, beans (kidney, black, pinto, northern, white, etc.), legumes (lentils); Ezekiel/sprouted bread, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread (in moderation – very processed)
- Fibrous Carbs: Pretty much any vegetable, especially green ones. Broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, artichokes, escarole, kale, green beans, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, tomatoes, lettuces
- Healthy Fats: Seeds (esp. ground flax), extra virgin olive oil, salmon and other fatty fish, nuts and nut butters (walnuts and almonds are great), avocado
- Fruits: Strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, apples, pears
Things to limit or eliminate completely from your diet include soda, candy bars, white bread, candies, rich restaurant/takeout meals, and frozen meals. I’m sure you have a good idea of what is good for you and not so good for you.
Eating Before You Go To Bed
Eating a snack before going to bed can promote weight loss. By providing your body with the right nutrients it needs to function optimally and keep your blood sugar levels stable, you allow your fat burning hormone, Glucagon, to do its job. Eating a snack before going to bed can also help you fall and stay asleep.
Cottage cheese is an ideal snack before sleep since it contains the slow-release casein protein, which is slowly absorbed into the body. When you sleep, your body will go through the longest period of time without food and become catabolic, which means it can start to break down muscle. Therefore, you should eat cottage cheese before you go to bed since 1 serving will take about 5-6 hours to fully digest.
Water is the essence of life, and yet so many people can’t stand it. In fact, I used to be one of them. I can remember back when I would drink a 12-pack of soda within 2-3 days. Eventually, I increased my daily water intake, even though I didn’t want to. Within no time I became accustomed to drinking more H20, which helped to boost my energy throughout the day. Most people say you should drink eight glasses of water daily, but that is a minimum for me, depending on my activity level and environment.
Water has many benefits including:
- Hydration without unwanted calories
- Aids in digestion and prevents constipation
- Helps your muscles perform better in the gym
- Helps flush toxins out of your kidneys
- Can make your skin look better
A simple way to determine if you are hydrated enough is by the color of your urine. Clear pee means hydrated, yellow means slightly dehydrated and dark gold is dangerously dehydrated. You want to avoid dark gold.
One common myth is that if you drink water you’ll get bloated; quite the opposite happens! When you’re dehydrated, your body stores all the water it needs, which leads to increased bodyweight. When you drink water consistently throughout the day you are effectively flushing out your system. If you suddenly start drinking water from a long period of very little, you can easily lose several pounds of excess water weight.
Fast food is not ideal for a diet, especially when you’re trying to shed unwanted fat. Unfortunately, some days you just don’t have the time to prepare a healthy meal. Not to worry! The next best thing you can do is grab a sub on whole wheat bread with no condiments. Sandwiches with low-fat meat or poultry provide a healthy balance of carbohydrates and protein.
You should do cardio first thing in the morning, and then wait 1 hour before you eat to maximize your fat burn. The important thing is that you do cardio on a regular basis and create a caloric deficit to lose weight.
I recommend doing HIIT (high intensity interval training) 2 times per week. Essentially, what you do is alternate every 30 seconds or 1 minute between high intensity exercise and medium – low intensity exercise for a total of 20 minutes. The goal is to get your heart rate up to about 80-90% of your max. The great thing about this type of training is it keeps your heart rate elevated throughout the exercise.
If you find HIIT too demanding, try incorporating daily walks into your lifestyle or other forms of low-intensity cardiovascular activity.
The only supplements you should consider when you are beginning a weight loss program is a multivitamin, fish oil, or flax seed oil. In a recent study, women who took fish oil were more satisfied after a meal and tended to eat less overall. It’s believed fish oil regulates the release of the chemical serotonin, which helps to control appetite. If you lift weights, whey protein is also optimal after a workout to help your body build lean, strong muscle.
Weightlifting is a great weight loss booster since it builds muscle and tones your body. Furthermore, when you work out at a high intensity, you can burn a higher number of calories. And your metabolism is boosted for an additional 24-48 hours! This is known as the after-burn effect.
It is recommended that you train with weights 2–3 times a week. I know people who train everyday, as well as others who work out every other day (or less). However, one thing that holds true is you should wait at least 48 hours before you work the same muscle group to prevent over-training and injury.
You can find a plethora of great programs at https://www.bodybuilding.com/, and many even come with a video demonstration! For someone new to weight lifting, a full body workout may be the best option. You will get toned-up by adding lean muscle and burning fat!
Weight loss is not as hard as you think if you take your time. Your goal should be to make exercise and healthy eating a consistent and enjoyable habit. You can learn more at http://astrobiosociety.org/why-should-i-lose-weight/
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