There is a very simple idea behind losing weight. It makes complete sense to me, so why does everyone have such a hard time figuring it out? It’s all about calories! If you eat fewer calories than you use every day, you will lose weight. If you eat more calories than you’re burning, you will store those calories as fat. It’s not only science, it’s nearly common sense. It’s like a balloon: if you take an empty balloon and blow one breath into it at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, some of the air will escape in between meals and at night. If you’re blowing more air into it than what can escape in between meals, the balloon is going to keep getting bigger and bigger, until eventually it pops. It’s the exact same idea with caloric intake. If you’re eating more calories during meals than what you are using in between meals, you’re going to keep getting bigger and bigger just like that balloon.
While the caloric count is an important factor in losing weight, it is also vital to monitor the quality of calories you’re taking in as well. Technically, you could diet on cupcakes and still lose weight, however you would encounter some unpleasant repercussions from the unhealthy calories you’re consuming. If I learned one thing as a nutrition major, it’s that a balanced diet is the best diet. Too much of nearly anything can cause imbalances and eventually tumors. Foods that contain healthy nutrients and a lot of fiber, like Julian Bakery bread, help us feel satisfied while eating fewer calories. Adversely, eating heavily processed foods containing a lot of sugar and other ingredients of little nutritional value can’t keep your metabolism on an even keel like healthy foods do. All things considered, 500 calories of junk food does not have the same effect on weight loss as 500 calories of healthy food.
I realize that executing a low calorie diet is not an easy feat. To complete this post I want to provide some helpful hints to help accomplish a decrease in calorie intake while keeping a balanced diet. In our modern day society, we tend to view meat as the main part of our meals. One of my favorite dieting adjustments is to change mindsets so that fruits and vegetables are the centerpiece of our diet instead of meat. Due to the nutritional value of meat, I am not suggesting becoming a vegetarian. I am simply suggesting a mental shift so that more fiber is consumed through greens, fruits, and vegetables which will help you feel satiated and eat fewer calories.
Some other fundamental low calorie tips are:
Calculate your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
Metabolic rate = RMR + energy consumed throughout the day
Knowing your RMR is very important if you are trying to lose weight. Your metabolic rate can be calculated with just a few key variables. RMR calculators like this one use your age,
sex, weight, and height to estimate how many calories you are burning per day. Knowing how many calories you are burning is a direct indication of what calorie range to aim for when starting your diet. For example, if you calculate your RMR to be 3000 kcal per day, you know that by aiming for 2000 calories you’re already burning more than you’re taking in.
If you throw an exercise program in there, you’re golden.
There are some important factors that affect your RMR:
- RMR increases with muscle gain. Losing fat alone will not improve RMR.
- Crash dieting lowers metabolic rate. Post crash diet you are more prone to putting on fat than before. This is because crash dieting causes muscle loss and lowered metabolic rate.
- RMR decreases with age.
- Small regular meals increase RMR.
- Living in a cold environment can increase your RMR.
With the RMR theory in mind, we can utilize that info to manipulate our own RMR. For example by having healthy snacks in between meals instead of denying yourself food, you can keep your RMR high throughout the day.
Count Calories/Use a food diary
Utilize technology and your smart phone to help you track what you’re eating and count calories. I know livestrong.com has a great phone app called ‘MyPlate’ that helps you track your daily intake so you know how many calories you’re eating. Doing this the old fashioned way is just too tough and may contribute to diet frustration and possibly giving up on your diet. Dieting shouldn’t be thought of as hard work. Counting calories will force you to familiarize yourself with food labels and nutritional information, as well as ingredients.
Plan Your Meals
One of the biggest issues that dieters experience is not planning their meals. By having diet friendly foods on hand and packing your lunch, you will avoid referring back to bad habits. Before starting your diet, cleanse your kitchen of foods that do not fit into the diet and replace them with foods that do. Surrounding yourself with healthy food is a great way to develop better eating habits. Nothing is worse than being hungry, not knowing what to eat, and settling for the drive through.
By setting aside 30 minutes a day for physical activity, you will maintain a high RMR, and burn more calories. Morning cardio is ideal to keep a high metabolism rate throughout the day, but anytime is better than none. Don’t set unrealistic fitness goals or burn yourself out, keep your activities doable and fun so that you continue to do them. Exercise is loaded with great benefits beyond just losing weight. In addition to weight control, exercise:
- Improves health condition and diseases. Exercise can help prevent a wide range of health problems including stroke, diabetes, depression, some cancers, and arthritis. Both cholesterol levels and blood pressure improve from consistent exercise.
- Improves mood. Exercise helps you relieve stress and frustration, while at the same time boost your confidence and feel happier.
- Boosts energy levels. Physical activity will keep you from feeling fatigued throughout the day. Endurance increases along with cardiovascular function so daily activities don’t wear you down.
- Promotes better sleep. Regular activity will help you fall asleep faster, and sleep deeper.
- Improves sexual activity. Boosting confidence and energy while toning your body all combines to improve your sex life.
- Improves interpersonal relationships. Physical activities and sports are a great way to connect and build relationships with friends and family in a fun atmosphere. Team sports and group classes are a great way to meet new people as well.
No matter what stage of dieting you are in, these are all helpful tips that anyone should adhere to. Everyone should have some type of idea what their resting metabolic rate is so they can plan their diet accordingly and begin tracking calorie intake. Everyone should stay physically active to receive the many benefits exercise has to offer. It only takes a couple weeks for your body to adapt to your lifestyle changes and dieting habits. Once you have healthy habits in place and a consistent routine down, losing weight becomes easy and the results apparent.
Stay tuned to the Julian Bakery Blog for more dieting tips!