Thursday, January 3, 2008

Counting Calories

Today's Total Calorie Intake:  1805
(Exercise Calories:  441)
Total Net Calories:  1363

In my pursuit to shed the pounds that I've piled on over the past 6 months, I'm back to counting calories.  I'll try to post my calorie intake in the blog with my posts each day (another form of accountability, right?).

It has been four years ago since I lost a significant amount of weight - going from close to 185 lbs down to 160 lbs.  It took me 4 months to lose the weight, and in 4 years I have basically kept it off....with the exception of the past 6 months where I have gained almost half of it back!  However, I know how to affectively lose weight now so in times like these when I see the scale creep up, I have a plan to stop it and get back down to the weight that I want to be at.

The secret is in a little formula:  Net Calories In  is less than  Net Calories Out

The hard part is having the discipline to watch your intake calories.  There are great tools out there - Calorie King's Diet Diary (now Nutrition & Exercise Manager) is my tool of choice.  It has a vast database of foods and their calorie/fat/carbs/protein/fiber content and for foods that are not in their database, you can add them based on what's on the label.  Still, you need to determine which foods to eat and watch the portion size to ensure you eat within your limits.

There's a pretty good rule of thumb for determining the target number of calories a day.  For someone with a desk job (not too much moving or standing around during the day) take your weight and multiply it by 10 to get the number of calories you should eat in a day to lose weight, take your weight and multiply it by 12 to get the number of calories you should eat to maintain your weight.  To get a bit more aggressive with weight loss, take your target weight and multiply that by 10 to get your daily calories.  (Note - this is Net if you exercise, you get to add the calories you burned)

For example, four years ago my doctor wanted me to get to 160 lbs.  I went on a 1600 calorie a day diet.  I lost 1-2 pounds a week for about 15 weeks.  I then brought my calorie intake to about 1900 calories a day and maintained my weight.

I'm hoping to keep with the plan again and get back to my goal weight by the end of February!

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