Hey guys! Ready to tackle another work week? You know I am – despite some long days and always being “on,” I do love my job and am ready to train people hard! 🙂 Let’s plan to work hard, drink lots of water, plan to be active with no excuses, and live with joy despite our circumstances. Who’s with me?!
Although I have some weekend fun to share, I thought I’d leave that for another post and instead share some snippets from some great articles that hit the nail on the head for what I’ve been thinking about lately. On tap for today? CALORIES – where are yours coming from?
Weekend wine calories, anyone?
This one comes from Shin Ohtake from Max Workouts (whom I referenced in this recent post). The main idea behind the article? That for optimum results when it comes to losing weight and gaining muscle, you need to both exercise AND have a daily caloric deficit. The problem is that many people often deprive themselves of food and then become not only drained of energy but not fueled enough to power them through their workouts. Furthermore, many people overestimate the amount of calories they burn in a day and underestimate the amount of calories they eat in a day (I’m always debating with Mikey about how much I really think we burn on back country ski days or long hikes – a lot, but perhaps not enough to warrant the big burger, the fries, the beer, AND the ice cream).
When we’re talking weight loss, there has to be some sort of difference between your usual calories and how many you now want to be eating a day to lose. But this means you actually have to know how many calories you’re currently eating in a day. Try keeping a food journal for a few typical days or a week and record everything; take an average number of calories per day and start there. Then, find out how much you should be eating with the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) formula (aka: how many calories your body currently needs in order to maintain it’s current state). Check out his post for the formulas and information on how to do that.
After this, you can calculate your maintenance calories by taking your BMR and multiplying it by the appropriate activity factor (which you can also find within his article), ranging from sedentary to extra active. And then? Boom. With this information, you can now figure out how many calories you need in order to create a caloric deficit. (How many you cut is really up to you and what your body needs/can handle.)
The above equation is, as Shin says, a good place to start, but it’s not the whole picture. While calories do count, what counts for more is the kind of foods you’re eating.
– Carbs: Refined carbs should be avoided (think cereal, bread, pasta, cookies, pastries, crackers…). This type of carb actually make your body more susceptible to gaining weight and then storing it as fat, so avoid these carbs and instead choose complex carbs like vegetables and fruits instead. You know my rule: if you don’t have to open a wrapper to eat it it’s not the best option; if it grow in the ground or on a tree, enjoy!
– Starchy Carbs: These are foods like potatoes, yams, and rice and should be eaten in moderation because they’re high in calories but still better carb options.
– Vegetables: When you think veggies, think NUTRIENTS! High in fiber, low in calories and nourishing: eat your vegetables (especially dark leafy green ones) and consider them a go-for-it-food.
– Fruits: Beware the (natural but still) sugar in fruits, but do enjoy them, especially the ones that are high in fiber and low in sugar.
– Legumes: Shin refers to legumes as being in the gray zone: “not great, but not bad either.” Why? Because they are high in soluble fiber and have high mineral contents BUT also have a type of sugar that can’t be broken down in our small intestines. The effect? Gas! They do keep your keep you fuller longer but are high in calories and can cause gas. So they’re good but not the best at the same time.
– Protein: It’s vital! How much are you really getting in a day? Because without it, you’ll lose muscle, and that’s the last thing you want to do when trying to get it! It doesn’t have as much insulin and also takes more energy to digest than other foods, which means when you eat protein you’re also burning calories! It helps to include protein in all meals in order to keep yourself fuller and therefore stick to a healthy, less carb-heavy diet. Some good sources? Grass-fed beef, organic chicken, wild salmon and tuna fish, eggs, plain Greek yogurt, beans, quinoa (a complete protein!) and almonds/almond butter (source).
– Fat: Don’t be afraid of fat! make sure to get best kind of fats, healthy omega 3 fatty acids, and keep in mind that it helps keep your insulin level low! Dietary sources include: fish, plant, and nut oils (like salmon, mackerel, halibut; flaxseeds/oil, canola oil, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts).
Phew! That is a lot of information (and there’s even more within the articles from Shin if you want to check them out for a fuller picture) – thanks for tracking with me. I just wanted to encourage you all and remind myself that it doesn’t just come down to calories but what kind of nutrients you’re taking in. Live fit, live strong, and live with full life – fuel your body well in order to make that happen! Let’s commit to clean eating and encourage one another to keep that up this week.
Are you focused more on calories or foods?
Any thoughts around the above food groups or on the BMR to share?
Were you surprised by any of the fruits in their categories?
Live well & be well, and I’ll be back with some #RWrunstreak thoughts (if you don’t know what that is, I’ll tell you all about it along with why I’m doing it and what I think of it!) and a great challenge for June you can jump on now! Catch ya later,