Put DOWN that Fork!

How many out there have any clue how many calories they should be eating every day to maintain their current weight?  Show of hands – anyone?  How about if you actually wanted to try and lose weight?

It is SO easy to overeat in our society – portion sizes are atrocious and even when we are cooking at home, which sometimes, I think is even WORSE because we usually focus on efforts at home on food we adore, whatever that happens to be.  We fill out plates, shovel it in and don’t stop and think about what we are doing to ourselves.

Let’s throw what type of calories we are eating out the window right now, which is very important too.  I am just talking about sheer numbers.  Wanna know why you are overweight?  For many people, it is pretty simple.

There are a million calorie calculators online so let’s look at one from Mayo Clinic.  We all have heard of them, right, so let’s see what they come up with for someone my size.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/calorie-calculator/itt-20084939

Age:  41 (42 shortly – AHHH!)

Height:  5 feet, 0 inches

Weight:  110 pounds (damn you big meals!)

Sex: Female

Activity Level:  Somewhat active.  Yes, I work out but I also sit at a desk all day too.  And lately, I haven’t been doing much working out either.

So, to maintain my current weight, Mayo Clinic says I can eat 1,600 calories a day.

1,600 calories. . .does anyone know just how LITTLE that is?  3 – 400 calorie meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, leaves ONLY 400 calories for snacks, drinks or anything else.  And that’s if I want to keep my current weight!  If you want to lose, it gets worse.

This handy little Weight Loss Calculator from caloriecount.com will help you figure out how to change this daily calorie goal if you want to lose weight.  Let’s give it a try:

http://www.caloriecount.com/tools/calories-goal

Current Weight:  110

Goal Weight:  I would like to maintain 107 consistently

Gender:  Female

Age:  41

Height:  5 feet, 0 inches

Activity Level:  Light Activity

Goal Date:  I am going to leave this blank to see what it comes up with for me.

Results
You should consume about 1,200 calories a day to reach your goal weight of 107 lbs . This is at a reasonable weight loss average of 0.58 lbs per week, which should be reached by September 02, 2015.

Experts recommend weight loss at the rate of 0.5-2 lbs/week. Remember that this estimate is based on your body weight, height, age, gender, and activity level. It may vary slightly depending on other factors.

Generally, women should not consume any less than 1,200 calories per day, and men should not consume less than 1,500 calories per day.

1,200 calories???  1,200!!  Take that math I did on meals above – 3 – 300 calories meals a day and that only leaves. . .300 calories for the rest of the day for snacks, drinks or anything else.

So, now does it make sense why we all have such a tough time losing weight or better stated, keep gaining weight?

Food these days is SO good these days and so available at any time.  We have so many great restaurants, Farmer’s Markets, grocery stores – we can find what we want to eat virtually at any time.  The key to all of this is portion size!

In my diet and workout adventures over the past 3 years, I have learned pretty quickly that you cannot survive on 1,200 calories.  It just ain’t gonna happen.  You will be angry, irritable and most likely, not getting all of the nutrition you need in a day.  Sure, you can do it for a finite period of time but what do you think is going to happen once you start eating “normal” again?  It is going to come right back on.

So, I have been striving for a more reasonable goal – using Fitbit, I track my food and activity level and do my best to end the day 200 calories or more under my total burned calories in a day.  Some days it can be 1,500, 1,700, even 1,900 calories – just depends on my activity level for the day.

For example, yesterday was just plain awful –  I didn’t work out, did no physical activity of any kind and just sitting around and breathing, my body burned 1,575 calories.  So, in order to meet my goal of trying to lose weight (you need to burn 250 more calories than you consume a day, in order to lose 1/2 pound in a week), I would need to eat only 1,225 calories.  Yeah, like that’s gonna happen, especially when we had adelicious foodie dinner last night.

See?  Double whammy.  And insanely over my 400 calorie meal limit on a 1,600 calorie a day meal plan.

BUT, then you have this past Sunday – I did a lot of housework, cooking, went grocery shopping AND got 40 minutes in on the treadmill so I burned 1,906 calories that day and only ate 1,729.  So, not quite 250 calories but I had 177 leftover for the day.  Not too bad, especially since I was able to have a piece of delicious, homemade blueberry pie.

So, why am I explaining this all?  Because some people have NEVER given this math a second thought, never typed in their numbers to find out what they should be eating and have never considered their activity level in terms of how many calories they burn and how many calories they can eat.

Yes, it is a pain in the ass to think about this every day, all day, 24/7 and obviously, I don’t stick to it either or I would be at my goal weight.  Am I far off?  No, I recognize that but I try really hard to work out at least 4 to 5 times a week, to make up for all of that extra, yummy food I eat.  If you don’t?  You WILL gain weight.  Simple as that.  Maybe you don’t care but maybe you do and I hope if you do, you will give this post some thought and think about making some simple changes in your life.  Just get started, change one thing – go for a short walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator, don’t order dessert or that 2nd drink, take the stairs, play with your friends kids, anything different than you normally do to help yourself out of the calorie hole and start putting yourself in the positive.
I think more and more about this as I get older because I recognize as we get older, this gets harder and harder.  All those years of thinking and worrying and planning and working out – you get sick of it, I have no doubt and when those pounds start creeping on, you just want to throw it all out the window and say screw it, for once, I want to eat whatever I want and not worry about it.  It is so easy to do.  Maybe you have ALWAYS been like this and never worried about it.  It is NEVER too late to start and it is so worth it in the long run.  I won’t want to get too tired to do stuff, I don’t want to be in and out of the doctor with health problems, I don’t want to be on a ton of medications, I don’t want to have a heart attack.  That is what motivates me, that is what scares me and every time I start to stray from my plan, it’s what brings me back.

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