Saturday, 24 January 2009

Talking Fat #3: Food for Thought (PT 1)

Food…mmmmmm. Food has been my longest and most consistent relationship. There is nothing wrong with food – unfortunately there is a difference between eating “good” food and eating empty calories that just fill you up for the short term, but ultimately lead to binge eating.

Ok, so when I started this, I was clueless how to eat. Actually, I still am – I’m just not as clueless as I was then. Make sense?

Alright, so anyway – when I got fully underway, sometime in late November 2007, I decided initially to begin by eating 1000 calories a day. Ya. That’s not so smart.

Let me clear up a big fallacy about calorie cutting. First off- one pound is equal to 3000 calories. So let’s pretend that you do absolutely nothing one day – you don’t breathe, move, your body doesn’t do anything on the cellular level, and you use 0 calories – but you somehow consume 3000 calories. You have just consumed a ton more calories than your body needed – and you gain a pound because you are doing to burn those calories up Now this is a virtually impossible scenario, because you always burn calories, even while asleep.

Same deal – now let’s pretend that you eat one thousand calories, but expend 3000. Well, simple math: you have a 2000 calorie deficit. Tomorrow you eat another 1000 calories, and expend 2000 calories – you have another 1000 calorie deficit. A pound is lost over the course of 2 days.

These are very simplified scenarios, and it is nowhere close to being so cut and dry, but it is an illustration of how all of this works.

I have read a lot of different theories on weight loss - some people say that 1 pound a week is alright – some say 2. I hold true to the belief that your body will tell you if you are being an idiot.

During the first couple of weeks that you diet, you will loose a fair amount of weight – the beginning is really easy – sometimes deceptively so. You will find yourself in the this amazing euphoria, which can make it really difficult further down the road, when your weight appears to be stuck. I will discuss the middle, during another blog entry.

Now here is the problem with purposely trying to create a substantial caloric deficit: starvation. Your body eventually has a couple of different responses. It will either enter starvation mode, which means that it will hold on to every single calorie possible – which can ultimately lead to weight gain. Another response is muscle eating – you might loose weight, but that weight is coming from the muscle that your body can’t support – not really a good thing. Another potential risk of substantial calorie shortages (and associated weight loss) is rapid weight gain – you know the people who have lost copious amounts of weight, and then suddenly gain it all back (almost overnight) with an additional 50 pounds? Ya. This is partly why.

But you still do need to have a calorie deficit to loose weight – just not a substantial one. What you need to do is work out your BMI and what it would take to maintain your weight at your given height. So if you are 5’4 and weigh 120 pounds it will take far fewer calories to maintain yourself (depending on activity level) than it will take someone who is 5’4 and 280 pounds.

Alright so I started by severely cutting my caloric intake. And to be honest, it wasn’t that bad (but again, you shouldn’t do it). In order to keep track of my intake and output, I registered on; a site that does all of the calculating for you!! Nice deal.

K..I'm leaving it there for soon ;-P

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