So you want to become leaner? Society tells us, “Eat less and exercise more.” This MAY work at first but then we lose energy and the scale stops moving – why is that? Because the body thinks it is starving. Any weight loss that occurred was probably muscle mass losses because the body was unfed. Let’s take a look at what may have happened.
It is very important to your body’s metabolism that you eat adequate calories every day. Think about all the functions your body is performing just to keep you alive. Even while you are resting, your body is breathing, digesting, and growing (new cells, skin, hair, etc). So in order to keep your body functioning as the powerhouse it is you must ensure that you are nourishing your body with enough energy (calories) to keep it going. In return your body will work for you and help you lose unwanted fat.
In science terms, a calorie is the amount of heat required to increase the temperature of a unit of water from zero degrees Celsius to 1 degree. In nutrition terms, a calorie is a unit of heat that comes from the food you eat or the energy your cells derive from the food you take in. Your body has a resting metabolic rate; also known as the amount of calories you need to take in so your body will function properly while at rest. One’s metabolic rate can vary by age, gender, body composition (muscle pounds vs fat pounds), and physical activity. There are many ways you can estimate your metabolic rate. The best way is to have a “Bodpod” analysis preformed. This will tell you the make up of your body – how many pounds of fat and how many pounds of muscle. From here the math is easy to determine calorie needs based off of your activity level. If your body burns as many calories as you consume your body will achieve a maintained weight. However, consuming more calories than what your body can burn may lead to a gain in excess fat. In order to lose weight, you must be in a negative balance. A negative balanced is attained when you are burning more calories than you consume. In addition, you must be careful not to cut too many calories because your body will make a choice: lose body fat or lose muscle. An inadequately fueled body will choose to lose calorie-burning muscle rather than fat. Remember calorie intake must be properly balanced with activity level, exercise, and a well- balanced nutrient rich diet. There are many formulas and calculators out there that rely on age, gender, height, and weight to determine your calculated metabolic rate. From there we would need to calculate your activity factor to determine appropriate calorie needs and composition of those calories to meet your nutrition goals. Be sure to schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian / nutritionist to establish your calorie needs for your goals.
So make sure when battling to drop any excess fat, avoid malnourishment and instead provide your body plenty of energy in order to help it become the best it can be. Avoid calorie laden processed foods and replace them with nutrient rich substitutes such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean proteins, and heart healthy fats. If you help your body by fueling it with nutritious, energy dense, natural calories – it will help you achieve the leaner, fitter, and healthier body you desire.
Try some of these easy snacks to meet your calorie goal and keep you going throughout your day:
· Add a apple to your lunch so you eat fewer chips/crackers
· Add a colorful salad before dinner so you eat less of your entrée
· Pack a serving of nuts and fruit as a snack
· Make tuna with Trader Joe’s Reduced Fat Greek yogurt guacamole
· Rinse a can of Simple Truth organic black beans then add 1/2 cup Newman’s Mango salsa…..1/2 cup serving: 63 calories / 0 g fat / 12 g carbs / 2 g fiber / 2 g sugar / 3 g protein
· Trader Joe’s Inner peas-22 peas 130 calories
Try this easy breakfast recipe below:
Turkey Egg White Breakfast Cups
12 slices turkey bacon (Applegate 35 calories / 6 g protein!!!)
4 ½ cup liquid egg whites
Spinach, chopped (or veggie of choice load as much as you want)
Pepper, to taste
Cooking spray (read the ingredients we are looking for JUST oil)
1. Preheat oven to 350 F
2. Spray the muffin pan with cooking spray
3. Whisk egg whites with spinach
4. Place a slice of turkey bacon around the inside of muffin cup then add egg whites
Nutrition Facts per muffin (makes 12 muffins)
88 calories / 1.5 g fat / 0 g sat. fat / 350 mg sodium / 0 g carbs / 0 g fiber / 16 g protein
By: Andrea Kendrick, RD, LDN and Julia Bell
For more information on a healthy lifestyle contact:
Andrea W. Kendrick, RDN, LDN
Registered Dietitian & Sports RD
865. 474. 0211
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