Posts Tagged ‘calories’

10 steps to controlling late night eating

Ever do really well all day with your food plan and then snack-eat all the calories you’d saved, and then some, the last few hours of the day?

That has to stop if you’re going to lose weight.

Here’s a plan for eliminating late night caloric excess.

1. Log food.  Log food.  Log food.  When you get to your daily calorie limit, stop eating.  Regardless of if it’s 1 PM or 11 PM.

2.  Control the playing field.  If you’re at home, be the decider about what snacks are available, and make them things you can control the intake of, or pre-portion them into single servings.

3.  Eat.  Don’t go hungry  all day and try to  hold it through the evening hours.

4.  Don’t have a hard and fast rule that it’s bad to eat after dinner, or after 8, or  any specific time.  If you get really hungry at 10 pm, save your last meal’s worth of calories till 10 PM and eat then.

5.  Don’t have a hard and fast rule that certain foods are evil and must be avoided at all cost.  If you are not actually allergic or reactive to a particular food, you can have some if you have calories left for it.  Quantity control is where it’s out.

6. Choose to have a little bit of a great food, instead of a whole lot of a non-satisfying food, for the same number of calories.

7.  Change the subject.  Change the scenery.  When the kids bring out the freshly made cookies, I eat the smallest one, which tastes just like the whole plateful, go walk the dog, go water the flowers, whatever, and when you come back in, the cookies will be gone.  No more temptation.

8.  Don’t stash food.  If something is immediately available without preparation, and it may call out to  you to come eat it, only buy enough for today’s caloric needs.

9.  Remove food from your house that you’re not going to be eating.  Send the leftovers home with other people.

10.  Don’t bring food in your house that you do not intend to eat yourself.   Putting it in your shopping cart at the grocery is giving yourself pre-approval to eat it.  If you have nerves of steel and can have a case of Twinkies in your house without eating half of it yourself, good for you.   That’s not me.  For me, availability is permissive.  What I permit to be around me, makes it available for me to consume.

You CAN win over excessive consumption.  A large percentage of our excessive consumption is mindlessly eaten snacks.  Be real, be honest with yourself, and enjoy your actual meals while not allowing endless grazing.


Help! I eat nothing and I’m not losing weight!

This is pretty much the #1 coaching topic.  The question arises nearly every day — be it phone coaching. stand-up classes, or just friend to friend.

Here’s the short answer.  If you think you have a metabolic disorder, work with your physician.  Even then, it’s only going to make a slight dent in the basic mathematics of weight loss — generally maybe 200 to 400 calories a day, and definitely not enough to stop weight loss.

You’re not staying the same weight because you’re eating too little.  Good try, but it doesn’t absolve you from personal responsibility.  Think back on the photos of wartime prison camp survivors.  They’re all rail-thin.  If there were a magic “starvation mode” that keeps you from losing weight when your body “realizes” and “adjusts for” limited intake, everybody would be large.  Actually, metabolism runs along at a very consistent and predictable rate.  Metabolism has no way of downshifting by any large degree.

So that leaves only the obvious.  You’re not losing weight because you’re eating just enough to exactly balance out your caloric needs and your actual intake.

If you don’t think this is the case, here’s our challenge:  log all your intake for a month, as precisely if you can, and log your activity.  Take that to Mr. Google and find a BMR calculator, to get how many calories you burn just being alive.   If you’re not losing weight, your intake calories are pretty close to  the total of your BMR and your output calories.

Don’t mean to be insulting, but if they’re not, you’re underestimating your intake or overestimating your output.  Otherwise it would be saying that you can produce calories inside your body to sustain your life, that are not coming from the only way  your body has to produce calories — via converting potential energy to actual energy, by utilizing your stored calories.   You’d need to find a new way for your body to produce calories, to explain your not being dead.  Good luck with that.

I struggled against this obvious conclusion for 20 years.   I am not better than you.  I just accepted the obvious a little before you did, perhaps.

Should I eat less the day after going off my diet?

Not really.

If you’re doing it as weight loss penance, that’s a bad thing to get started, determining the success of your life to date by how well you did yesterday.  And if you’re doing it to balance out calories, it’s fine if you went a little over yesterday to balance that out today, but if you, ahem, ate a can of sweetened condensed milk or two (see, I was obese once too!) there’s no point trying to cut it so thin you get to be totally starving today.  That’s a recipe for eating too much today or tomorrow.

Just go back to your plan that’s been working, and make today a perfect day, consisting of all the elements of your plan.

Weight loss record keeping

In response to an emailed question regarding what record keeping is, minimally, required for weight loss tracking.

Really by definition you’d only need some way of noting or remembering your starting and ending weights.  But because of the way people are, a little more is in order.

You’ll be well served by keeping a weight loss chart (click the link to see a sample).  It just shows your weight each week hopefully declining.  You can of course track each day as long as you promise yourself not to stress out over the normal daily variation which might be as much as 5 pounds one way or the other.

If you want more, you can track your daily calories in and out.  You’ll find several web versions reviewed elsewhere in this blog, or you can just manually track with the aid of a pocket calorie reference.

If you want more than that, you can track your nutrients, mood, concerns, whatever you want to track for yourself.

And if you want even more,  you can wear a device like this or this that tracks steps or heartbeats, respectively, or even something like this, none of which are at all required but all of which are motivational for the gadget-hungry crowd.

Whatever you choose to track, do track.    What is not measured, is not at all obtainable.  What gets measured, gets done.


How to get a flatter tummy

Long-time readers already see this one coming.  You can’t get a flatter tummy from doing stomach exercises.  You can get a more muscular tummy which perhaps enables you to suck it in with greater effect, but that’s not what you’re looking for for a long-term solution, we’re sure.

Here’s the lowdown.

It’s totally normal for someone to get their weight about where they want it and still have a little area of their body that’s not ideal-looking.  It’s genetically based.  Your immediate ancestors were likely the same way.  Often the first place your weight gain ever showed up, is the very last to look really nice.  There’s no spot-reducing, because whenever you burn calories, fat reserves are depleted from all over your body, from your head to your toes.  Further explaining why I lost  two shoe widths and several ring sizes before my waistline started to look more or less like what I wanted it to.

What you can do, instead, is just go with the flow of weight loss and keep on losing down to what you figure your best-looking weight to be.  If you’re 20 that may be lower than if you’re 55, for example. Secondly, if you’re looking at this as a life improvement and life extension project, rather than wholly a looking-good project, your actual exact weight at the bottom is just one factor in how you feel about yourself.  Go for the best balance of all factors.  You’re too valuable to be reduced to that one area of your body that bugs you.

Diet soda doesnt raise diabetes risk, after all

Time to pick your spot on this one. Is diet soda great, ok, horrible, carcinogenic? One of the popular threads of conversation is that perhaps it leads to Type II diabetes, but it probably does not.

Definitely the sweeteners, in huge quantities, cause health problems.  But hopefully you’re not consuming mass quantities.

Another popular misconception is that all drinks with caffeine are diuretic.  That’s only true if you’re an infrequent consumer of caffeine, actually.

So… there’s not a best answer, but thus far today it looks like in rather limited quantities, they’re safe and effective as substitutes for people who would otherwise be chugging hundreds of calories of HFCS per day with their soda.

How did Kate Middleton lose so much weight?

Reportedly, the Middleton ladies are big fans of the Dukan Diet.  Handy little summary at the link.  There’s probably enough there to avoid having to pay $12.99 for the book.

I have to say, she looked marvelous, and so did her sister Pippa.  Prompting Glenn Beck’s crew to make an immediate call for More, More Pippa.

Actually if you are healthy as a horse, only have about 10-20 pounds to lose and want to shed water weight really quickly, this would be an interesting way to lose it.  It’s all protein, no carb, no fat, for 3-10 days, followed by an alternating series of vegetables-ok days and vegetables-not-ok days.  The reason weight sheds pretty quickly is that carbohydrates bind up the water you consume in your food and via drinking liquids, and when there’s no carbs there’s rapid dehydration.  8 pounds per gallon, so you can dump about 8 pounds in a week.  Soon as you go back to regular food you rehydrate and the weight comes back.

What’s most interesting about this plan is that it’s advertised as an Atkins-like all-you-can-eat, no calorie counting plan, but the meal plans it gives you are extremely low in calories.  Let me guess, about 900/day.  So the remaining reason you’re losing weight is that you’ve got a very large caloric deficit.

What’s second-most interesting is that the plan does a much better job than Atkins (which does not restrict fat), and South Beach (which decreases fat intake) … the difference isn’t in the approach to fat but the approach to after-diet care.  It does a nice job in its maintenance phase of teaching restricted but healthy eating.

Which begs the question:  if the goal after the first few weeks is restricted, healthy eating, why not just start there from the beginning instead of going for a quick, temporary loss up front?

So, the overall assessment:  just because something is pushed by a doctor doesn’t make it an utterly realistic plan.  If you do decide to go all-protein for a very short time, drink large amounts of fluids and note that this diet does give you some oat bran to keep you from going into Atkins Potty Straining mode.  Trust me, been there, done that, it’s horrible.  Do go to the vegetables-ok plan right away, even from the beginning.  God made them tasty on purpose, so you’d eat them and get the good stuff.