Popular Post Topics

Best Diet Ever   Weight loss   Diet   Exercise   Fast Food 4-1-1   Nutrition   Strength Training   Running

Monday, March 26, 2007

The skinny on getting thin

0 comments   StumbleUpon

Energy balance: What is it and why you should care.

It's like deja vu all over again. I keep having this conversation over and over again…with different people, but the same conversation.

Person: "I don't know what it is. I'm eating healthy, you know...I've cut out all of the junk food but I can't seem to lose weight."
Scott: "How much are you eating?"
Person: "Who knows, but I've eaten enough lettuce, I'm about to start sprouting. I’ve even put on a few pounds! Am I cursed?"

Losing weight, or gaining weight, is all a matter of energy balance - Calories In vs. Calories Out. If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you consume fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. The type of food from which those calories originate is irrelevant. There, I said it. You can have your cake and eat it, too...just not all of it. Obviously, if you live on Ho-hos and fried cheese, i.e. very calorie dense foods, it is going to be difficult to eat enough food to be sated and keep the total number of calories consumed at a level that allows you to maintain or lose weight. There is no such thing as a fattening food, only fattening portions.

Harris Benedict Equation

A survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation found that most Americans (67%) report taking calories into account when making food purchases, but nearly nine out of ten don't know how many calories they need each day. How many calories do you need each day? The Harris Benedict Equation is a formula that you can use to determine how many calories you should be consuming each day to maintain your weight. Exceed that number of calories per day and you will gain weight. Eat fewer calories and you will lose weight. Donna Jaime graciously sent out an email with the equation a few weeks ago, but here it is again:

Cals/day = 66 + (6.23 x weight in lbs) + (12.7 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years)

Cals/day = 655 + (4.35 x weight in lbs) + (4.7 x height in inches) - ( 4.7 x age in years)

Now you have the number of calories needed to stay alive. Next you've got to multiply your calculated calories by an activity level. Be honest. Most people are considered sedentary. If you haven't maintained a certain activity level for more than 6 weeks, you shouldn't count it.

Sedentary (little or no exercise) : Cals/day x 1.2
Lightly active (light exercise/walking 1-3 days/week) : Cals/day x 1.375
Moderately active (exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : Cals/day x 1.55
Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/week) : Cals/day x 1.725
Extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job) : Cals/day x 1.9

For the mathematically challenged, here is a link to an online calculator:


3500 calories

What's that got to do with anything? 3500 calories is the number of calories in one pound of fat. For every 3500 calorie deficit created, one pound of fat will be lost. For every 3500 excess calories consumed, one pound of fat will be gained. This is a slight oversimplification, but as a rule of thumb, it is an effective tool in determining and predicting weight loss or gain. Calculate your daily caloric needs using the equation above and subtract 500. If losing weight is a goal, then this number should be your goal number of calories per day. A 500 calorie deficit per day over the course of 1 week (500 cals/day x 7 days) will result in a 3500 calorie deficit per week...translation...you will lose approximately one pound per week. You can create that deficit by eating less or exercising more, but a combination of both is best so that you maintain metabolism-restoring muscle mass and burn mostly fat. I'll discuss this more in upcoming weeks.

"Healthy" foods?

Losing or gaining weight has nothing to do with eating "healthy" or "unhealthy". The purpose of this tip is not to encourage you to eat unhealthy foods, only to illustrate that all foods are fair game and can be eaten in moderation within the context of a healthy diet. In later tips/articles, I'll talk about how to choose healthier foods, but always remember that portions matter most when making choices for the purpose of weight management.

Recommended Posts:

Monday, March 19, 2007

Eat breakfast.

0 comments   StumbleUpon

If you think skipping breakfast is an easy way to cut calories and lose weight, think again. Breakfast as the word implies means breaking a fast. Your metabolic rate drops overnight because of fasting. So when you skip this morning meal, and eat a hearty lunch, the majority of the calories taken in are stored as fat since your metabolism cannot cope with the sudden load of calories. Likewise, you tend to feel so hungry for lunch that your decision making in terms of proper food choices is impaired. So lunch servings are mainly high fat, less nutritious meal choices that can be harmful in the long run. Skipping breakfast is also a major cause of late night bingeing...and those binges tend to offset any calories saved by not having eaten breakfast.

Healthy breakfast suggestions:

Cold cereal and milk

Choose a cereal with whole grains and lots of fiber, at least 3g per serving. Use skim or 1% milk. A single 8 oz. glass of whole milk has as much saturated fat as two slices of bacon. Also, remember to watch your serving sizes. I know you've been eating cereal for breakfast in your favorite blue bowl since you were a kid...just make sure its a bowl and not a trough. A serving of cereal is usually 3/4 cup or 1 cup of cereal served with 8 oz. of milk. Actually measure it one day and compare to the amount that you have been eating.


Regular oatmeal, either old-fashioned or quick cooking, is best. If you are a flavored, sweetened oatmeal junkie, try microwaving regular oatmeal and adding cut up fruit or a little brown sugar to taste.

Whole wheat toast

When purchasing bread, look at the ingredients and Nutrition Facts panel. The first word in the ingredient list should be "WHOLE". Only then can you be guaranteed that you are getting whole wheat bread and not a fancy version of white bread. If the first word is "ENRICHED", keep looking. Also, each slice should have 2 or 3 grams of fiber.


Eggs are a healthy breakfast choice. Try mixing 2 egg whites for every whole egg to cut down on calories and cholesterol.


Fruit is always a good choice for breakfast.

McDonalds Egg McMuffin

Right! Not a chance. Just checking if you were paying attention.

Recommended Posts: