Monday, January 12, 2015

Weight loss, calories or as I like to call them: Monsters that eat clothes !!

Weight loss is not just simply cutting calories. There is a lot more to it than that and many are unaware of how many factors influence the impact of calories in your diet. There is a common misconception that to lose weight it is simply calories in vs. calories out. BUT this is simply just a little portion of the equation.

So what is a calorie??

If you ask me I will tell you that a calorie is a tiny creature that sits in your closet and shrinks your clothes so they don't fit.

In real simple life a calorie is a unit of energy based on the food we eat or drink.

Let's dig a little deeper!

Calories IN are the foods and beverages we consume. That is easy. Now calories OUT are a little more confusing.

Calories out:
-Resting energy which is the energy used to handle basic, day-to-day physiological functions and maintenance.
-Thermic effect of food which uses the energy to digest food and process nutrients.
-Active energy expenditure used during movement both deliberate activity like lifting weights, jogging, and walking, plus spontaneous activity like shivering and fidgeting.

If you eat MORE than you burn you will gain weight.. Yes that is true. If you eat LESS, you might lose weight... for a short period of time then hit the dreaded plateau. Why does this happen? Well your body is a well adaptable machine that realizes that you are not eating enough and maybe working out more. From the OUTSIDE that seems like it would be a good thing. From a fat loss standpoint this is not so good. During calorie restriction, the body “defends” itself by holding onto weight and lowering resting metabolic rate. To keep weight loss going, you often have to lower food intake even more to counteract the reduced metabolic rate.

The idea that a calorie is a calorie is just untrue. So if I ate 100 calories right now. I have a choice to make. Imagine sitting in front of you was an apple or 3 star-burst candies. Both are 100 calories. Are they equal ?? Sure in caloric numbers they are, but they are definitely different on a nutritional standpoint. You need to be mindful of the types of foods you choose. For instance, healthy unprocessed foods take LONGER for the body to digest thus keeping hunger pangs longer a part because you remain full for a longer period of time. As compared to a processed food that will give you a quick high of insulin and then you feel sleepy, lethargic, and hungry in within that hour. Not a great way to feel if you are actively trying to lose fat.

This brings me to my next misconception. Fat loss is not the same as weight loss. I know that I have touched on this before but I really do feel that people are more preoccupied with the "numbers" on the scale rather than focusing on body composition. Yes losing weight is the overall goal BUT you need to also be concerned with body fat composition and lean muscle mass. Just saying a number or that you want to lose/gain "weight" tells me nothing. Be very specific with yourself and your results will have more meaning to you!

Exercise, the calorie pooper scooper! So many of you think that if you ate a HUGE meal you can somehow negate those calories by working out.. NOPE !!! Sorry it doesn't work like that because if it did why would you not just eat while working out to cancel those calories out ?? Everyone would stay the same size or reduce into nothing if that was remotely true. With that being said, exercise is used as a tool for weight loss. 3,500 calories need to be lost for 1 lb of body fat!! Who has time for that ? So by combining weight training which boost your metabolic rate far beyond your training session with high intensity cardio your upping your weight loss efforts. Keep in mind I stated HIGH INTENSITY cardio. Walking on an incline does not cut it. You need to be exerting yourself !!!

A simple way to see what your eating is to monitor your calorie intake. There are a bunch of ways to do this. You can do it the old school way by keeping a food journal or you can use technology like MyFitnessPal to track your calories for that day. You want to see where your nutrition is lacking. There is a nice pie chart on MyFitnessPal that shows a picture of your macronutrient breakdown. You want to have a 40% protein -30% carbs and 30% fat breakdown as a rough estimate for the daily person! See what you are REALLY consuming.. drinks and all !!!

I hope this information helps you figure out some missing components to your fat loss efforts. Use these to help make smarter choices and really push your body to enhance your fullest metabolic potential and lose that unwanted body fat for good !

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