When a nutritionist or doctor tells us to watch our calorie intake, let's admit it, we usually just roll our eyes and rationalize that they are just skinny people who think that fat people should have to work really hard to be skinny like they are. That they don't feel like the "fast" working diets are fair, and heaven forbid we even THINK about one of those weight loss surgeries or lipo.
Skinny people can be so blasted rude to us biggies who can't eat like they do, and they want to punish us for our genes right?
Well, I hate to admit it. I honestly do. And it's like pulling my fingernails out with pliers, but they really do have a point.
In my life long battle of being overweight/ obese I have tried just about every kind of diet you can name! Including Atkins, South Beach, Dr. Phil, just to name a few. I have tried all the different kinds of weight loss pills, only to find that they too let me down in the end. Fad diets and cool pills, often work, but they don't keep the weight off for most people.
I have learned that if you don't really have to work hard for something, it doesn't seem to mean as much to you when you get it. Whether it's a dream job, a great marriage, or in this case a fit body. Take a moment to think about it, all the best things in your life, are things you had to work for, sacrifice for.
The same thing goes for losing weight.
The best and most effective weight loss plan I ever did, the way I lost all this weight, all comes down to calories. I know there are many of you out their wanting to cry as I say this. No one hates counting them more than I do! But if you are really serious about losing the weight, developing good eating habits, and keeping the weight off, you need to watch those calories! Period!
Why is it so effective in the short term and long term? I am going to tell you.
Why do I lose weight when I count calories? And why should I bother?
This is kind of a no-brainer. You use calories in everything you do to keep your body moving and active. You can't consume more than what you use during the day or you will gain weight because your body needs to store those calories somewhere, right? Well, your thighs are as good a place as any! An average adult should only consume around 2000 to 2400 a day (for a more individual estimate click here).
However, you'd be SHOCKED to really know how quickly those calories can add up. To see what I mean, go one day, and just eat normal, but make a list of everything that goes into your mouth -- but don't look at the calorie content. At the end of the day go over the list and write down all the calories of everything you ate. Then add them up! Trust me, you may be totally shocked by how much you ate, even if you thought you did really well by eating healthy. Carrot sticks and pretzels add up really fast!
And if you eat a meal at a fast food place, if you aren't careful, I mean REALLY careful, you can eat your whole days worth of calories in one meal!
Example: You go to McDonald's and get a "value meal". But you read Fat Butt Friday, and choose to skip the cheese burger and go for the grilled chicken and instead of getting the large one, you go for the medium sized.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich = 530 calories
Medium French Fry = 380 calories
Med Coke (You can't eat fast food without a coke!) = 210 calories
(a great website for looking up fast food calories can be found here)
Then you think you are doing good, because you chose Grilled Chicken so you allow yourself desert too.
Fruit and Yogurt Parfait = 160 calories
So by the time you leave Mickey-D's you have innocently consumed 1280 calories for lunch!!! And that's fine if you had lettuce for breakfast and plan on eating a carrot for dinner... but who does that?
See what I mean? Calories make a huge difference and they can add up REALLY fast! So watch it! (For more information on the importance of calories or a great online calorie counter click here.)
What do you mean when you say: "Counting calories will help you to develop good life long eating habits and keeps the weight off"?
It only takes a week or two of counting calories and writing stuff down to know what you can and can't have. Seriously. When people talk about writing it all down and counting religiously, I used to picture months without end of keeping a food diary and going through a million note books. It's not like that. Once you know what you can and can't have and the combos that work best, you don't have to write it all down, you start LIVING it. And if you keep it up, you change and become a health conscience eater. It really does stick with you.
Why is exercise so important?
Exercise is the key, really, to maintaining weight loss and not feeling like you are hungry all the time. The muscles you develop actually help to burn off the calories. I used to train with a body builder, and she was super skinny and actually had an amazing body! She had abs and gluts to die for! No joke! And she only did 10 min of cardio a day! She said that she had so much muscle mass that her muscles burned off her calories now.
Our muscles also keep us healthy and less likely to get hurt. I can't tell you how less I get sick now that I lost that weight! I hardly ever get sick now, and I rarely even get hurt because I can catch myself and my muscles protect me better.
I am a big fan of weight lifting! Not only does it tone your body, keep you healthy, but it pulls your skin in! Seriously, flab will disappear!
Here's a little tidbit: It was bothering me a little that I still weigh so much on the scale but that I don't look like I weigh. I have been wanting to check out my Body Fat %age for a long time, to see about how much muscle I really did have and if it was why I look so thin but weigh so much. When I was almost 300 pounds, I had Gold's Gym test my BF% and I was, no joke, 45% fat. Talk about depressing with a capital D! I haven't had it tested since, but just yesterday, I found out that you can get a pretty good estimate if you know your measurements and find a good website to calculate it, that you can know your BF%.
Anyway, to say I was shocked, is an understatement. I was FLOORED when the calculator told me I was 20.5% body fat!!! It then told me I was 155 pounds "lean" and 40 pounds fat. Which I thought that sounded about right, that I only wanted to lose about 20 more pounds anyway. But to think I had that much muscle and other "lean" stuff thrilled me to no end and made so much sense to me -- nutritionists say that a woman of my height and bone size should be at 153 pounds to be healthy, and I just couldn't see that realistically happen for me, do you?
So my point today, is that if you really are serious about losing weight, being healthy, and staying in control of your life and body, counting calories and exercise are the keys to a new life.
Have a great weekend!