It’s Healthy Weight Week and to celebrate I am doing a 4 week weight management series – so welcome to the first week! There will also be a free printable for you each week to go with each themed post.
So, let’s get on with it!
Welcome to Week 1: Quality vs. Quantity
I personally don’t count calories, but it can be very helpful if you are trying to stay within a desired calorie range. Focusing on the quality of those calories will be an even bigger help for you in reaching your weight loss goals.
In order to do that the key is focusing on real food as much as possible. By ‘real food’ I mean unprocessed or minimally processed foods that either came from a plant or animal such as; vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, meat, chicken, eggs and seafood. To simplify; these are foods that can be found in nature.
Yes, calories matter, but even more so, it’s the quality of those calories. We have become so conditioned to count calories, but most of us have not been taught to also be aware of nutrients.
Let me give you an example: If you have a choice between 200 calories from a candy bar or 200 calories from a serving of nuts and fruit, you see the difference is quality. The candy bar will put you on a sugar roller coaster ride, which will leave you hungry again a short time later.
However, if you choose the nuts and fruit option, you are still getting something sweet, but you are also getting healthy fat, some fiber, protein and additional nutrients. This choice will keep you feeling full longer, which helps you avoid needless snacking in another hour or so (in the end saving you calories!). You will be giving your body the nutrients it needs instead of just ‘empty’ calories.
Tip #1: Yes, everything in moderation, but the way to keep it in moderation is asking yourself “Is this going to nourish my body and give it what it needs?”
So, instead of just focusing on the quantity of calories, take quality into consideration.
Also, don’t make the mistake of thinking that eating less will help you lose weight. Eating less food than your body requires will actually do the opposite.
But, think about it.
Say, for example, your body needs 2000 calories a day to really function at its best, but you only consume 1500. Your body will go into what’s known as survival mode. As a result, because your body thinks it’s starving it will hold on to the excess weight instead of losing it and your metabolism will also slow down. You may have nutritional deficiencies as well because you’re not getting all the nutrition your body needs. (Note: to lose one pound of weight a week that will mean eating 3500 less calories a week – or 500 calories less a day – than your indicated daily caloric needs. You can also burn the needed amount of calories through physical activity).
On the other hand, if you consistently feed your body the proper amount of calories it needs, and make them quality, then your body will only benefit. For good weight management, pairing proper nutrition with physical activity will only enhance the process. If you’re looking to lose weight, note that a good number to lose is 1-2 pounds a week (1-3 pounds is also acceptable for an obese person).
Calculating your personal daily caloric needs
In order to properly manage your weight, you will need to calculate your personal daily caloric needs. This will tell you around how many calories you should be consuming a day.
Personal daily caloric needs is based on gender, weight, age, height, and physical activity. (ACE Fitness has a great estimated daily caloric needs calculator here. (The number of calories calculated is an estimate only, but gives you a ball park figure to aim for. As your physical activity changes you may find your calories need to be adjusted so check back every so often to ensure you’re still consuming the right amount of calories.)
You may be surprised to find out how many calories you need, but don’t let it ruin your day or scare you off. It may sound like a lot (or little) at first but if you make them quality calories and not worry about the quantity your body will thank you.
Keeping your body well nourished will help with more than just weight control, too. It helps with energy, proper digestion, elimination, immune function and disease prevention. It will also help reduce cravings.
Tip #2: Have healthy snacks stocked and ready to go, so that these become the options you and your family reach for more often.
So here is your strategy summary for this week:
– Calculate your personal caloric needs using the daily caloric needs calculator at the ACE website using the link provided above
– Focus on real food as much as possible, including adding in more real food snacks – this will nourish you and give you more sustained energy as well as help control your appetite.
– Make a shopping list of what you plan to include so when you go to the grocery store you’ll be all set.
Download your FREE Weekly Meal Tracker now!
What else can you think of to help you consume the proper amount of calories?