How Many Calories Should You Eat?

How Many Calories Should You Eat?

This is the age old question. How Many Calories Should You Eat? There are so many different answers to that question, however, it really depends on what your goal is. Do you want to maintain your current weight? Are you looking to lose five or ten pounds? Maybe you want to drop 50 or more pounds. I want to break it down for you today. When you look at it from a different perspective, weight loss becomes a little easier to understand. Therefore it becomes easier to reach your goal.

How Many Calories Are In A Pound?

First, we need to start by determining how many calories equal one pound of body weight. There are 3500 calories in one pound. Now that has been established we will move on to the next factor in the equation.

How Many Calories Do I Need To Maintain My Current Weight?

This is where math comes in. If you are a female you should have about 10 calories for every pound of your current body weight daily. Let me explain. If you currently weigh 120 lbs. and you are looking to maintain that weight you will want to have 1200 calories (120 x 10=1200) daily. This is called your maintenance calories. That is if you don’t do any exercise and live a fairly sedentary lifestyle. If you do exercise and are physically active, you can have more calories. If you are a male, you will want to have 11 to 12 calories for each pound of your current weight.

How Does Exercise Affect My Daily Calorie Count?

You will need to do a little more math to find that out or you can go here and plug in your numbers to find out. You can bookmark that site so that it’s easy to determine the number of calories burned during each workout. It asks you the type of exercise you did, how long you did it, and your current body weight. It will calculate your calories burned for that session. You may add that amount to your daily caloric intake to maintain current body weight. This will become your new maintenance calorie number. Of course, if you don’t exercise every day or if you do different workouts, you can’t add that number. You will need to adjust your maintenance calories based on your daily physical activity.

How Many Calories Do I Need To Lose Weight?

So now that you know how many calories are in a pound and how many you need to maintain your current weight, we want to find out how to lose weight. It really is calories in and calories out. You want to end up with a deficit each day. Knowing this equation, you can calculate how many calories you need to consume each day. If you are looking to lose about one pound per week which is reasonable in my opinion, you will want to end up with a deficit of 500 calories each day. In other words, your caloric intake should be at least 500 calories less than your maintenance calories every day of the week.

How Many Calories Should You Eat?

Once you realize that weight loss is all calories in and calories out, you can begin to devise a plan to get where you want to be. I know that you can do it. You are smart and determined and most of all, you are worth it! Life is what we make it. You just have to believe in yourself. I’m happy to help in any way. My recommendation is to start a food journal today. I know I’ve mentioned it in previous posts but it really does help open our eyes to how many calories that we are consuming each day. It’s a great tool and no one has to see it but you.

Good Luck!

 

Low Calorie Meal Plan for Weight Loss

Low-Calorie Meal Plan for Weight Loss

Hello all! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. The weather was beautiful here in Georgia. The pollen is finally dying down and it’s a perfect time to get out and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. Since the weather is warming up soon swimming pools will be open and we will be pulling out our shorts and swimsuits. We all want to look our best and it’s not too late to shed some of that extra weight that we have put on over the winter. Here we will discuss an easy way to come up with a low-calorie meal plan for weight loss. Let’s get started!

So let’s dive right in. There are many different options when it comes to designing a menu but I want to start out with something very basic and easy to plan and manage. Most of us want to lose weight however, it becomes overwhelming to try to figure out what to eat and when to eat it. You hear so many different stories on the “best” way to go about eating to lose weight. I want to make it simple and easy. There will be no calorie counting. That’s exhausting and will drive you crazy if you let it. We don’t want that.

As I mentioned earlier, I worked in endocrinology for six years and was fortunate to get to work one-on-one with many people to help them reach their weight loss goals. Most of our patients said the same thing. They didn’t want to think about what to eat. They wanted us to tell them what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat it. That’s what I want to focus on today. I’m going to give you the structure of the meal plan and also give you a list of food items to chose from so that you can essentially build your own plan.

Get Ready To Plan A Menu

We will start out with the blank menu template. You can print this one out or make up your own. You will need slots for breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner. Another key point I want to make is to never let yourself get hungry. If you allow yourself to get to the point of hunger and your stomach starts growling then your metabolism has already slowed down. We don’t want that to happen.

We want to keep consistent energy levels and blood sugar levels and to do that we have to eat at regular intervals. Have breakfast within one hour of waking. You need to try to eat a little something every three to four hours while you’re awake. While I know that this seems like a lot it’s really not because you will be eating low-calorie, nutrient and protein dense foods that will actually help you lose weight. Trust me on this.

Drink Water

Okay, now you have the template ready. Next, I’d like for you to find a container or pitcher that you can fill with water for the day. You will need to drink a minimum of two quarts of water daily. Some people require more than this in order to stay hydrated.

Symptoms of Dehydration

Symptoms of dehydration are headache, fatigue, dizziness and rapid heart rate to name a few. These are the common symptoms that you will likely notice. If you at any time notice any of these you will need to increase your water. And when I say water, I mean water only. If you want to drink additional zero calorie drinks in addition to the two quarts of water, that’s fine. Try to steer clear of caffeine if possible. I recommend no more that two cups of caffeinated beverages daily. Caffeine acts as a diuretic and we don’t want for you to become dehydrated.

Alright, we have the template printed and the water pitcher filled. You can refrigerate the water if you prefer it cold or leave it at room temperature. Having the water premeasured really helps out with making sure that you do drink enough. So keep in mind you should try to drink the majority of the water earlier in the day prior to dinner so that you’re not up all night going to the bathroom. Now you’re ready to start filling out your menu template.

Plan Your Menu

I have listed some items below for you to pick from for each meal.  The goal is to have at least two low-calorie entrees daily and at least five full cups of fruits and vegetables daily. Also, I recommend finding yourself a good protein shake powder. I like Muscle Milk but you can use any that you prefer. Muscle Milk even has a 100 calorie per serving option. I like to use shakes in between meals for snacks and also for breakfast. They can be used as a meal replacement any time of the day and they are very versatile. You can add fruit and flavorings to them to really mix them up so they never get boring.

Breakfast

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Eating soon after waking amps up your metabolism and gives you the energy to get your day started. You want to have protein and complex carbs with each meal and breakfast is no different. Protein shakes are the best and easiest option for breakfast in my opinion. You can add frozen or fresh fruit. You can use calorie free sodas or even coffee as the liquid. Other add-ins that you might try are sugar-free pudding or jello (1 tbs. per shake), or sugar-free syrups like DaVinci or Torani.

Another breakfast option is greek yogurt with either fruit or veggies. Greek yogurt is good because it is high in protein and not too bad on calories, depending on what brand and flavor you get. I prefer Oikos or Chobani personally. They both offer 100 calorie options with just as much protein as the higher calorie ones.

Lunch And Dinner

Lunch and dinner will be about the same as far as planning on what to have. I recommend picking an entree and pairing that with veggies. The more the merrier with the veggies. They really are packed with vitamins and nutrients and are low calorie. Of course you can have any veggies, however, try to steer clear of a lot of starchy ones like corn and potatoes. Those are both good options just try to spread them out and not have a lot on the same day. It will slow your weight loss somewhat.

Another important thing to remember is seasoning. We don’t want to put a lot of fat like butter or margarine on our vegetables. Try to find other ways to season them. Lemon juice is a good option. I really like lemon on green beans, broccoli, and asparagus. Also, you can use spices or herbs just be careful with the ones that have a lot of sodium in them.

You can always add your veggies to your entree and use the sauce from it to season them. Steaming is probably the best way to prepare vegetables. More nutrients are retained with this preparation. Boiling and roasting are other options. As far as entrees go, you should try to stay under 300 calories per entree. Lean Cuisine, Smart Ones, and Healthy Choice are my go to brands for entrees. Some of them like the pizza ones are over 300 calories each. It’s okay to have these sometimes just add lower calorie vegetables when you have them.

Snacks

There are many options with snacks and this is where some folks really blow it. Try to keep snacks to about 100-150 calories. This sounds like a hard thing to do but it’s really not. You just have to choose the correct foods. The ones that will satisfy your hunger and keep you feeling satiated until your next meal.

Below are the food lists. These are just recommendations. In addition, there are a few other points to keep in mind while planning your menus.

  • Breakfast should include at least 1 cup of fruits/veggies
  • Lunch should include 1 entree and at least 2 cups fruits/veggies
  • Dinner should include 1 entree and at least 2 cups fruits/veggies
  • Snacks should stay around 100-150 calories
  • Drink plenty of water (at least 2 quarts) your body will not burn calories efficiently if you are dehydrated
  • Have extra veggies for snacks
  • Don’t let yourself get hungry

 

Breakfast

  • Protein Shake-Mixed per shake instructions using either water or calorie-free soda or coffee.
    • Add-Ins
    • 1 cup frozen or fresh fruit (strawberries, banana, blueberries, mango, pineapple)
    • Ice
    • 1 Tbs. Sugar-free jello or pudding mix
  • Greek yogurt
    • 1 cup fresh fruit or vegetables

Lunch and Dinner

  • 1 Entree plus 2 cups of fruits/veggies (any low-calorie entree)
    • Entrees (Lean Cuisine and Smart Ones)
    • Mushroom Mezzaluna-LC
    • Roasted Turkey Breast-LC
    • Roasted Chicken and Garden Vegetables-LC
    • Fiesta Grilled Chicken-LC
    • Butternut Squash Ravioli-LC
    • Tortilla Crusted Fish-LC
    • Thai-Style Ginger Beef-LC
    • Chicken Parmesan-SO
    • Chipolte Lime Chicken-SO
    • Meatloaf-SO
    • Roasted Chicken with Herb Gravy-SO
    • Teriyaki Chicken and Vegetables-SO
    • Angel Hair Marinara-SO
    • Santa Fe Rice and Beans-So
    • Vegetables
      • Carrots
      • Green Beans
      • Chopped or Sliced Tomato
      • Corn
      • Asparagus
      • Brocolli
      • Cabbage
      • Cucumber
      • Red Potatoes
      • Sweet Potatoe
      • Bell Peppers
      • Onions
      • Mushrooms
      • Spinach
    • Fruits
      • Apple
      • Banana
      • Blueberries
      • Grapes
      • Mango
      • Pineapple
      • Cantaloupe
      • Watermelon
      • Strawberries
      • Oranges
      • Clementines
      • Pears

Snacks

  • Almonds (100 calorie pack)
  • 1 Small Apple & 1 Low Fat String Cheese
  • 100 Calorie Yogurt
  • Celery Sticks & 3 Tbs. Hummus
  • 1 boiled egg & 1/2 Apple
  • 1 cup Chopped Cantaloupe

 

Remember, plan the week. Make your grocery list before you go to the store. Stick to only buying what’s on the list. Fill your cart with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. You’ll need some frozen and canned ones too. Canned ones are higher in sodium so go for the low sodium varieties. I know that you’ll do great with this. You are going to get healthy and you’re going to feel so much better too. Let me know how it goes! Good luck!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips on Losing Weight or Maintaining Your Current Weight

Losing weight or even just maintaining your current weight can be a big challenge. Most of us live a hectic life and are always on the go either working or taking care of our jobs and responsibilities at home. Let’s face it, taking care of ourselves usually fall to the bottom of the priority list. In this article Tips on Losing Weight or Maintaining Your Current Weight, I have put together some tips and ideas on how to make sticking to a plan of healthy, low calorie eating a little easier.

There are many diet plans out there but most of them are expensive. They try to sell you their prepackaged meals and shakes and try to convince you that you need to buy their supplements in order to be successful and lose the weight for good. While those diets do sometimes work, usually as soon as you are at your goal weight and return to trying to maintain on your own your weight begins to creep right back up. There are multiple reasons why this happens but the bottom line is this; you truly must change your lifestyle and your relationship with food.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m an LPN and I worked in endocrinology for several years and we had so many patients that came to us for weight loss. Most of them thought that something had to be wrong with them physically. They couldn’t believe that their weight was due to their diet. I heard so many people say, “I really don’t eat that much”. This is why I recommend that you start right now, today and keep a food journal. This is an easy thing to do and let me tell you, it is a real eye-opener for people. Lots of times we don’t remember everything that we eat during the day. I’m guilty of it myself. We get busy, we get hungry and we grab the first thing that we see and let’s face it. It usually isn’t something healthy. That leads me to my next tip.

Get all the junk food and processed food out of the house. Go ahead and do it now. If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking; I can’t throw food away. You don’t have to throw it away. You can donate the food to someone in need. Your local food shelter or donation center would love to take it off your hands. Next, starting today I want for you to drink at least 64 ounces of water daily. This is two quarts and it’s really not that hard to do. I always recommend measuring it out in advance. That way you know what you have left and you don’t have to guess how much you’ve drunk. I also recommend that you stick to water only. There is a lot of controversy regarding artificial sweeteners but I won’t go into that now.

Okay, so far we have talked about starting a food journal, getting the junk and processed foods out of your house, and drinking two quarts of water daily.  For the food journal, you can use anything you currently have at home. No need to get fancy unless you want to.  If you have an old notebook lying around use that. Some of you might want to use an actual hardcover journal. You can even use printer paper and keep it in a folder.Whatever works for you. This journal is for your eyes only. No one else even needs to know about it.

At the end of your first full day of keeping your food journal, I want for you to sit down and look back over the day. You’ll need to look up the actual calorie content of the foods that you have eaten. This will only take a few minutes of your time and trust me, you’ll be glad you did it. For those of you who have smartphones, I think that’s pretty much everyone these days, you can download one of the calorie tracking apps. My favorite is My Fitness Pal. You can enter the food that you had and it tracks the calories for you. This will give you the starting point to make the changes that I know you so want to make.

Don’t forget to throw that junk and processed food out of your pantry. It’s no good for you so you don’t need it around. Also, start to drink two quarts of water daily. This is easy and inexpensive. Use a container and measure it out so that you know where you stand. If you start early in the day, it’s no problem at all. Drink a glass as soon as you get up. Water keeps you hydrated and helps you to burn calories efficiently. Without it, weight loss is slowed.

This gives you a starting point to reach your goals. In future posts, I will give you some ideas on eating and exercise plans that will really kick your weight loss into high gear and you can get it all at your local grocery store. No need to do any of the fad diets or spend hundreds of dollars for weight loss plans. You can do this on your own and I’m more than happy to help 🙂

When you’re ready for the next step, read this article Eating For Weight Loss.