I have been heavy my entire life, at my largest I was 275 lbs and a size 20. I hated how I looked and how I felt. I have tried every diet out there, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Atkins, sugar free, fat free, calorie counting, you name it I’ve tried it. I read all the weight loss blogs. Sometimes I would lose a little weight, but inevitably something happened, I gave up and gained it back plus more.
You’ve likely heard that “in order to lose a pound of fat, you have to burn 3500 calories more than you consume. One pound of fat is 16 ounces, or 454 grams. According to the table above, 448 grams of fat equals 4086 calories. How do we get 3500 instead of 4086? In the body, fat, or adipose tissue, is not 100% fat the way you’d expect a bottle of olive oil to be 100% fat. It is about 87% fat (another estimate), so 87% of 4086 is 3554.86. Rounding to a simpler number, 54.86 calories are dropped from the “3500 Calorie Rule” to land at 3500 calories.
You also have the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF) which is the percentage of a food’s calories burned in the process of digestion. Our bodies burn a certain amount of calories just breaking down our foods and rearranging them in a way we can use for growth, repair and energy. The TEF for protein is 20 to 35 percent, meaning that up to 35 percent of the calorie value of protein will be burned just to digest that protein. Compare that with the TEF of carbohydrate at 5 to 15 percent and with fat being the same or less than carbohydrate. Increasing the amount of protein in the diet, while keeping the total calorie value the same, means fewer calories will be available for energy or weight gain.
The divide continues to grow between those who swear by the “calories in vs. calories out” method and those who tout that body composition changes will come by following a nutrient-dense whole-food diet. When counseling clients, starting out many of them have these types of pre-conceived beliefs on how they should be losing weight or making changes to their body composition overall. Acknowledging calories continue to be a hot topic of conversation, we’ll dive into the science of calories, the complexity of them and when they really matter.
It is not that men don’t diet. They just do it differently. They tend to include more saturated fat in their diet, while women tend to completely avoid them. Nutritionists explain, as long as they keep their intake lower than 15 per cent of their total daily fat intake, saturated fat isn’t harmful. In fact, small doses of saturated fat can help them avoid testosterone depletion.
I am not a dietitian – so please know that I am not writing or advising you as a trained professional from a certified standpoint. However, given my career change into fitness and commitment to my own personal growth and goals, I have acquired a decent amount of knowledge over time about what’s effective and what’s not when it comes to diet and exercise.
“The secret to dropping the baby weight while working full-time was eating real food—no shakes or supplements, preparing meals in advance, and going slow. I balanced all of my meals to have a mix of protein, fat and carbs. As for meal prep, that was critical! After my kids went to bed, I would roast some veggies and meat in the oven with olive oil and seasoning like garlic, rosemary, oregano and bake for 425 degrees at 25 minutes. Then I would prep egg muffins, flourless banana muffins or snacks like roasted chickpeas. The whole prep would take from 30 to 60 minutes. I did this meal prep every two to three days instead of all day on Sunday. That allowed for greater variety and fresher ingredients, plus I could grab and go during the crazy busy morning rush for my meals the next day at work. Also, I incorporated both HIIT and strength training to get the most bang for my 5:30 a.m. workouts on weekdays, using my home equipment of dumbbells, resistance bands, a core ball and kettlebell. You don't need to sacrifice time with your family or from your career to lose weight. I'm proof of that.”
I didn’t always have healthy eating or living habits. I loved me some cherry pie and the faster the food came out of the box or package and into the microwave, the more satisfied I would be. I didn’t have much interest or skill in cooking elaborate meals. The problem was I was craving more and more junk food and putting on the pounds. I was watching my mom continue to gain weight and develop full blown Type 2 Diabetes.
Carrots ‘n’ Cake is written by a food and fitness blogger who also happens to be a mom. The blog provides meal plans, advice for those looking to get fit while dealing with chronic illnesses, and relatable posts about maintaining health while balancing motherhood. You can also find some great recipes, like these blender chocolate chip cookies. Visit the blog.