Friday, October 8, 2010

Don't Cheat Yourself

I always hear, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day."  Then I see people who are overweight and hear them say they skip a meal or meals during the day, then load up at night.  I don't see how anyone can do this and expect their body to like it.  I used to be overweight.  I also used to skip breakfast.  When I stopped smoking over 2 years ago I started eating breakfast regularly.  Now I can't go without breakfast (or any meal for that matter) or I feel terrible.  I have lost weight gradually in the last 3 years and have maintained my current weight for almost a year.

I am not saying that everyone should eat breakfast.  I am saying that it is not the best idea to go for several hours during the day without eating.  When you deprive your body of food, your body decides to slow down the metabolism to hold on to what it gets later and try to make it last.  Food is fuel and in order to keep going, your body needs it.  I have found that I keep a more regular weight when I eat every 2 to 3 hours, even just a piece of fruit. 

Men need approximately 2500 calories a day, women need about 2000, and children aged 5-10 need about 1800.  These numbers vary based on age, weight, muscle mass, and activity level.  You can figure out your personal caloric intake by using this method:

Adult women:
655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)
OR
655 + (9.6 x weight in kg) + (1.8 x height in cm) – (4.7 x age in yrs)

Adult men:
66 + (6.3 x weight in pounds) + (12.9 x height in inches) – (6.8 x age in years)
OR
66 + (13.7 x weight in kg) + (5.0 x height in cm) – (6.8 x age in yrs)
The number you get from this would tell you how many calories your body needs if you spend the day lying in bed.  This is called your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
If you multiply that number by your activity level percentage, you get the number needed to maintain your CURRENT weight.
Activity Level:
  • Sedentary (no exercise, sit at a desk most of the day): BMR x 120 percent 
  • Light Activity (no exercise, on feet during the day, eg. shop work): BMR x 130 percent
  • Moderately Active (exercise 3 or more days a week for 30 minutes or more): BMR x 140 percent
  • Highly Active (exercise 5 or more days a week for 30 minutes or more): BMR x 150 percent
Example:
I am 5'3" (63 inches) and weigh 134 pounds and I am 35 years old.
655 + (4.3 x weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) – (4.7 x age in years)=

655 + (4.3 x 134) + (4.7 x 63) – (4.7 x 35)=
655 + 576.2 + 296.1 - 164.5 = 1362.8
My BMR is 1362.8 or I need 1363 calories if I just lie in bed all day.

We all know I do not lie in bed all day, at least not since derby.  :)

Now I am highly active because I exercise 5 or more days a week for 30 minutes or more per day.

So I take my BMR of 1362.8 and multiply that by 150% or 1.5 which gives me 2044.2.  In other words, I need to take in 2044 calories to MAINTAIN 134 pounds. 

Let's say that I would like to lose 10 pounds.  I have to under-eat by 3500 calories to lose 1 pound.  If I shave off 500 calories per day (3500 calories less a week), I will lose about 1 pound per week.  It would take me 10 weeks to lose 10 pounds. 

If you overeat a lot and have more to lose than 10 pounds, you could shave off up to 1000 calories per day and maybe more, but you should NOT take in less than 1000 calories per day as that would have negative effects on your body. 

My point is, skipping meals is counterproductive to weight loss.  You should eat regularly, but take in less calories AND exercise if you want to lose weight.  This will help regulate metabolism so that your body can maintain a healthier weight.