- How many calories do you eat now?
- What is calorie cycling?
- How many calories should I be eating?
- Is the low fat choice always the best choice?
- Is Weight Watchers right to not count vegetables as part of your daily calorie count? Are veggies really a free food?
- As an obese person, how many calories were you eating?
I don’t count calories as a general rule. However, there are times I jot things I’m eating down to make sure I’m still on track. I eat between 1700 – 2000 calories per day and that keeps my weight at a stable level.
Calorie cycling is where you changing the kinds of food, the nutrients, and the calories of foods you eat every few days. Your weekly calorie count stays constant, but the daily calorie amount shifts slightly. For example, if you are eating 1600 calories a day, every day, sometimes your body becomes complacent. Calorie cycling would have you eat 1500 calories one day, 1300 the next, 1700 the next, etc., so your calorie weekly average is 1600, but the daily amount changes. The reasoning behind this is that as you lose weight, your body becomes accustomed to a certain amount of calories on average each day. By constantly changing this number (along with the nutrients), your metabolism stays elevated, constantly kept trying to adjust that average each day
I didn’t use calorie cycling as I was losing weight, unless I hit a plateau. Then I did find shifting the amounts and times I ate helped in kicking me off the plateau.
There are a lot of good calorie calculators on the web. Someday I may figure out how to add one here! In the meantime, if you turn on your computer’s calculator, you can get a general idea here.
To determine the approximate number of calories and fat grams you need to consume each day in order to lose or gain weight use the following calculations.
1. Write your body weight in the equation that fits your activity level and gender. Then, multiply.
a. Moderately active male: _____ pounds x 15 calories = _____ total calories per day.
b. Moderately active female: ____ pounds x 12 calories = _____ total calories per day.
c. Relatively inactive male: ____ pounds x 13 calories = _____ total calories per day.
d. Relatively inactive female: ____ pounds x 10 calories = _____ total calories per day.
2. Take total calories and multiply by 30 percent. ____ calories per day x .30 = ____ calories from fat per day.
3. Take calories from fat per day and divide by 9 (there are 9 calories per gram of fat): ____ calories from fat per day divided by 9 =____ fat grams per day.
Remember, saturated fats should account for only 10 percent of the total fat grams consumed.
One way to reduce the amount of calories you eat is to limit fat. That said, some fat-free versions of the foods we love actually contain more calories than their full-fat counterparts. What’s more, eating fat-free may cause you to eat more of a food than you otherwise would. That’s why it’s important to compare nutrition labels for calories and serving sizes before making a choice. Source (www.nhlbi.nih.gov)
I have changed my feelings on this over the last several years. Previously, when I taught my weight loss class I’d encourage the class to always choose the low-fat or fat-free version of foods. These days, I still encourage them to chose low fat foods, but also suggest they always look at the labels of both choices. For example, Ritz crackers. The lower fat version has 70 calories per 5 crackers. The regular version has 80 calories per 5 crackers. The fat and calorie content are lower, but not significantly. If the regular version satisfies you and you can be happy with fewer crackers, then buy the regular one. This is a good example of the food label problems. Next time you are in the grocery store, try to figure out why Campbell’s Healthy Request soup can claim 99% fat free on the label, when there is about 30% of each serving calories from fat. (Hint: It’s because when you add skim milk to it, it brings down the fat percentage!)
So, to recap. Eat low fat foods, but make informed choices.
This was a very interesting question and you are not the first person to ask me this. I think WW is a great, reputable program, but I do disagree with their philosophy on vegetables as free foods. Every food has calories, and although veggies have much fewer calories than other foods, they still contain calories.
For example, 14 baby carrots have about 35 calories. Not much right? But,if you eat those carrot sticks with abandon, you could be adding 70 calories a day to your calorie allotment. If you are closely watching what you eat, 70 calories a day adds up to almost 500 extra calories for the week. This could cause your weight loss to slow or stall.
Am I recommending you don’t eat carrot sticks? NO! But I do want you to be mindful of all the foods you are eating, and in what quantity. Just remember, a calorie is a calorie no matter how small. (Can’t you tell I have small children who love the Dr. Seuss books?)
I didn’t keep track of calories when I was heavy. If I had I might have had a heart attack from shock!! I was probably eating between 3000 and 4000 unhealthy calories per day.