Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Know thy Calorie Intake

Perhaps the biggest complaint I hear from people trying to lose weight is that they are not losing weight. If you're not losing weight, the main culprit is, of course, that you are probably taking in too many calories and not exercising enough.

You need to be constantly aware of two things. First, how many calories you need a day to maintain your weight. That depends on your height, weight and age. You can determine it here: http://www.revolutionhealth.com/calculators/daily-calorie-needs.

As I wrote here, http://losingweightafter45isabitch.blogspot.com/2009/04/you-probably-can-consume-far-fewer.html, you probably can consume far fewer calories then you think, and, as you lose weight and age you can consume even fewer calories just to maintain your weight.

Second, you really need to get a handle on just how many calories a day you are really consuming. You need to understand that every bite and sip and everything you sip and drink is caloric intake. There are a number of websites that allow you to calculate calories such as this one: http://www.healthyweightforum.org/eng/calorie-counter, or this one, http://www.caloriekind.com.

You can even Google "how many calories in [insert food item] and find the answers.

And, you need to get real about portion sizes. The portion sizes of items like steak, meat and fish, are far larger than the sample sizes on most calorie counters. If the calorie counter tells you that a 3 oz portion of steak has approximately 400 calories and you're eating a 9 oz portion, well you're not doing yourself any favors by deluding yourself into believing you're only consuming 400 calories.

So here's the rub. If you want to lose 2 pounds a week then through some combination of calorie reduction and exercise, you have to cut 7,000 calories a week.

For example, suppose, based on your height, weight and age, that you can only consume approximately 1,800 calories a day (note that's less then the 2000-2200 calories that most nutritional labels are based on). So to lose two pounds in a week you'd have to find a way to either cut calories or exercise to burn an additional 1,000 calories daily.

You can accomplish this by limiting my caloric intake to 1,300 calories a day and burning an additional 500 calories through exercise.

But, one Starbucks grande white chocolate mocha with 2% milk is 450 calories. A Starbucks Bagel with nothing on it is 320 calories. If you have that for breakfast you've already burned through more than half of your daily caloric allowance. Go to Burger King for lunch and get a Whopper with 670 calories, and you've blown your diet for the day. And, I'll guarantee that you'll still be hungry.

If, instead of going to Starbucks, you started your day by having two bananas instead of the bagel, you'd only consume approximately 155 calories. Have some an 8 oz cup of coffee with 1 oz of skim milk and you've only added 15 calories to your breakfast.

At lunch if you can make yourself of large, filling salad of completely raw ingredients such as lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, onion and maybe some raw almonds (no more than 1/4 of a cup) and lightly toss it with a dressing of olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar and still be under 400 calories.

So you total caloric intake for the day up to this point would be under 570 calories leaving you with approximately 730 calories for dinner. A 4 oz piece of grilled salmon is 168 calories, so you can combine that with a large salad and grilled veggies and still have enough calories left over snacks between meals of carrots, grapes or other raw fruits and veggies.


  1. I think this is one of the post on your blog that originally helped me so much to lose weight. I was just beginning to understand "calories in/calories out" when I found your blog and now I've lost 60 lbs and exercise everyday.

    Thank you!

  2. I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post's to be precisely what I'm looking
    for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for you personally?
    I wouldn't mind publishing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome site!

    Feel free to surf to my page truck semi