Now, before I get into this, let me cover some things that I think are very important... I want to reiterate that weight loss is not the focus of this blog. I want people to be active. I hope that my love of running becomes contagious... no matter what your weight. To me, you can't judge fitness by weight. In fact, many of the most fit individuals I know are not your ideal magazine size 2. Next, I believe that fueling a run is way more important than losing weight. If you try to lose weight while training, you do risk underfueling. Be careful out there folks!
OK, now onto the details... I have heard it over and over about calorie counting. You know, simple math... calories in - calories out. Simple, right? The thought of taking something I enjoy so much (food) and putting into obsessive equations just never sounded good to me, despite the fact that I was an Applied Math major. The problem is, I think, I had the wrong perspective on calorie counting.
I finally joined sparkpeople.com just to track calories and workout burns. I think there are other sites that provide similar services, but I knew TMB used sparkpeople, and that was enough endorsement for me. I want to be clear that there are lots of details that go into calculating how many calories you should be eating. You shouldn't just pick a random number (back to that previous note about underfueling).
I'll go through a quick approximation of myself...
Maintenance calories = BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) + Daily Activity + Training
A quick and easy approximation...
BMR = approximately 10 x Body Weight = 10 x 156 = 1560 calories
Average daily activity = approximately 500 calories
Training = approximately 35 miles a week = 3500/7 = 500 daily calories
So we're at 1560 + 500 + 500 = 2560
Now, if I want to lose 1 lb a week which I think is a nice slow loss appropriate for someone who is training hard and needs to be very careful not to underfuel then I need to cut 3500 calories a week or 500 calories a day. So 2560-500 = 2060 calories per day. That's almost exactly what Sparkpeople estimates as well... and I have been pretty consistently keeping the calories in the 1700-2000 calorie range each day. 1700 is my low-end number that I try to never be below. Eating too little can slow your metabolism... and I promise, my metabolism needs no help going slower.
OK, now the perspective. At the start, it was simply eat and track, eat and track, and if I hit my calories, I stopped eating. Unfortunately that left me feeling a little hungry some nights. It was a slow evolution, but now it's a game. I mean I love math... why wouldn't I love a good numbers game?
4 oz chicken breast rubbed with a little grapeseed oil (yes, I count and measure the oil) and rosemary and then rolled in some Italian bread crumbs; baked sweet potato with brown sugar and cinnamon and a pat of butter, and an entire zucchini cooked in a little garlic grapeseed oil. A huge plate for 560 calories. YUM!!!