Week 4 - Simple Calorie Counting
I thought I would just do a simple calorie counting diet this week. My goal is to keep each day under a reasonable 1500 calories. This amount of calories should be the perfect amount to help me lose weight, but not feel completely hungry all the time. I could probably lose with even more calories, but as much as I don't want to put pressure on myself, I'd like to be losing weight at a rate of 2 lbs a week. But I'm not going to emphasize that too much, because I don't want to feel like a failure if it doesn't happen.
Calories are units of heat energy. A calorie is defined as: "The energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C" Calories are what fuel our bodies, what keeps our heart beating and our brains working. Calories are not our enemy, they are our friend. Our bodies are pretty amazing. When we consume calories it takes that heat energy stored inside each calorie and uses that energy to run our vital functions and to help us walk, run, chew and talk. When we consume MORE calories than we need to maintain the activities our body is subject to that day, we store those calories in special cells used just for that function, our "Fat" cells. When we consume LESS calories than we burn on a given day we USE up some of that stored energy.
All those little stored units of heat energy slowly build up inside our bodies and we get bigger and bigger and bigger. Just think of all that fat as hundreds of thousands of little tiny little calorie units that you have been hoarding for years. To get rid of all those extra units of energy, ou must use them all up. There are only 2 ways to do that, either consume less calories than your body uses, OR use up more calories than you have eaten by doing activities that burns calories. Or, you can do both, and burn up twice as many calories!
There are other ways to lose weight too. Running a fever or being overly hot gets rid of calories. If your body increases it's internal temperature by just .5 Celsius your metabolic rate increases by 7%. And your base metabolic rate increases 7% for each .5 C that your core temperature is increased. This is ONE of the reasons that you often quickly drop pounds when sick (along with many sick symptoms causing dehydration). And this is why when wrestlers are trying to cut weight they will work out in many layers of clothes. They are raising their metabolic rate and "sweating out" any extra fluids. This all makes sense when you think of a calorie as a unit of heat energy. The more calories (or internal heat) you burn, the hotter you get. That's why when you work out, you get hotter. If you aren't getting hotter, you aren't using as many calories as someone who does. Your body then uses sweat to try to cool you back down.
Back to the Diet
Okay, so after doing all that research and learning more about a calorie, all these diets seem a bit silly. The science is so basic and clear cut that there is really only one way to lose that fat. You can lose 5 lbs of water in a day, but to lose fat you have to USE more calories than you CONSUME. End of story. I mean, there MAY be ways to trick your body into using more calories, but in general it's calories in vs. calories out. Bummer.... haha
So that's all I'm going to do this week is try to make sure my calories out exceed my calories in. Like a good friend of mine said when I asked her HOW she lost so much weight recently. She said, "I put down the fork."
So clear, concise and simple! And so unbelievably HARD to do. So, this week I'm putting down the fork and getting off the couch.
Start and End Weight
Week 4 - Calorie Counting Stating Weight: 190.4
Week 4 - Calorie Counting Ending Weight: 188 (Down 2.4 lbs)
So Far this week I haven't been perfect. I ate 1560 calories on the 22nd. On the 23rd I ate 1804 calories. So far today (it's only 10:24 AM here) I have eaten 100 calories.
The wonderful thing about counting calories is that you can really eat whatever you like. It might be the only thing you get to eat that day, but you can eat it if you want. Calorie counting is kind of like money management. If I have a 100 dollars I can use it slowly for the week, or I can buy something fun the first day and not have a dime left for the rest of the week. Same thing with calories. I can splurge and eat something high cal and be hungry the rest of the day, or I can spread it out and eat many low cal items.
Unfortunately I tend to be the kind that blows my money all at once on something fun and then digs through the change at the end of the week to get a can of soda. And I tend to be that way in dieting too. :) I think I need to become a better planner! Oh well, I'm determined to be UNDER 1500 today! I don't want to run up my charge card and have to pay for my extra calorie spending by being too fat for my jeans!
The counting calories diet went very well. I was more conscious of what I ate, and it kind of made me prioritize my eating. Thoughts crossed my mind like, "If I eat this candy bar now, then I won't be able to eat much for dinner tonight." and "Is this quarter pounder and fries really worth almost an entire days worth of calories?"
That's what calorie counting does to you, it helps you to be a smarter eater. You tend to eat healthier simply because you want to eat more, and the more unhealthy it is, the greater the calorie density, the less you get to eat.
I really got to test the idea that you burn calories faster when your temp is higher. I currently have the influenza bug that's going around. I just slept for 20 hours and I have a fever of 103. So I should be a calorie burning machine right now. I weighed in this morning at 188. I don't have any vomiting so this should be simple weight loss and not dehydration. Although I might be a little dehydrated after 20 hours of sleeping.
So I do declare calorie counting a success. However, calorie counting is time consuming and although I know it works and I can do it for longer than a week, I do get sick of it after awhile. A few months is about the longest I've ever lasted. I don't like doing a math assignment every time I eat (So if I eat one cup of a ten cup casserole with the following ingredients each of them at this amount.... I have to add up the calories of all the individual ingredients. Determine the calorie count of the entire pan and then divide it by the portion I take.) Yeah, it's okay with prepackaged stuff, but cooking at home can be very time consuming to count calories. I find the website www.caloriecount.com to be very helpful in this process, but still not entirely convenient.
I HOPE to get the diet of the week up today, but with how I'm feeling, I'm not sure I will. So I will tell you what it is. It's the Perfect Health Diet. This diet looks very promising as far as making one feel better. Wonder if it can get rid of this flu? :)