Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weight Loss Wednesday: How many calories?

I love broccoli so much, I'm going to post this picture twice.

I had another great week of weight loss. I lost another 2 pounds (woohoo), so it seems I'm finally making progress. I love looking at my weight chart on Livestrong.com:

Well, now you know I'm listening to Itunes while I look at my weight history.
After I gave birth I weighed in at 160. Then I was stuck at 152 FOREVER. But now, you can see it steadily going down, which I love.

So this week went pretty well:

Wednesday: P90X Back and Biceps, 2.5 mile run.
Thursday: Turbofire Fire 55EZ
Friday: P90X Legs and Back, ran 25 minutes.
Saturday: Ab Ripper X, then took my son to his first race. So cute!
My little champion :-)

Sunday: Turbo Jam, Cardio Party 3.
Monday: Run 3 miles on the treadmill, 30 minutes. Hills and sprints. About half of Ab Ripper X.
Tuesday: Baron Baptiste Unlocking Athletic Power Yoga. Yum.

Someone asked me recently, "How many calories should I consume if I'm trying to lose weight?"

Well, it's both complicated and really easy.

The simple answer: Consume less calories than you expend.

The complicated answer: How do you know all that?

Here we go:

Step 1: Determine how daily calorie expenditure

Basically, you need to know your Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR. Click here for a BMR Calculator.

The BMR calculator takes into account your height, weight, age and sex to determine how many calories you burn just staying alive. Like, if you did nothing but lay in a coma all day, it's the calories that give your body energy for your heart to pump, nails and hair to grow, just the basic life functions.

According to the calculator, my BMR is 1430.

Now, most of us probably do more than lay around all day, so we'll probably need to adjust our calories.

Use this (after you've found your BMR) to see what the calorie requirement would be for you to stay at your current weight.

So, according to my activity level, I would need 2216 calories a day to maintain my weight.

Step 2: Determine your daily calorie deficit.

It takes a deficit of 3500 calories to lose 1 pound (like *really* lose it, not just water fluctuation). Most experts recommend a weekly loss of 2 pounds. So, if you want to lose 2 pounds a week, you need a weekly calorie deficit of 7000.

That means each day you need to burn an average of 1000 more calories than you consume.

Going back to my example, if I am steady at 2216, then to lose weight at a rate of about 2 pounds a week, I need to net 1216 calories a day. Now, I can get there by reducing my caloric intake, or by working out, but preferably by both.

So I could consume 1500 calories, and run 3 miles, and reach my daily goal.

Does this all make sense?

Calorie quality:

It's important to consider the quality of your calories. Have you heard of the Twinkie study?

Basically, 150 calories of broccoli is a lot more food than 150 calories of potato chips....

Yum. Doesn't it just look yummier than yucky old potato chips?

So, I'll get into the quality of your food on another day (because I do believe it makes a difference). This is jus a starting point.

Questions? Comments? Disagree? Let me hear it....

Have a great Wednesday!

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