Friday, January 8, 2010

Feeding the metabolism

Meal tips
You may notice that I keep repeating the same morning shake. I have tried other shakes and I find that this is the most palatable for me especially throughout my pregnancy. I tried to get creative with them before and it wasn't working for me. I do add 6 small strawberries on occasion instead of the banana and I switch between the vanilla and the chocolate protein.

I repeat the meals that work the best for me and my husband. I look at food labels and try to find the lowest caloric intake. It is surprising how many brands seem so similar but are very different on calories.

My goals for my meal plans are: simple, maintainable, easy and cheap.

Protein bars are probably the most expensive item. I tried to make homemade and even have the recipe for it on a former post but it just wasn't working for me. I am too picky. Coupons are great for these.

Caloric needs.
The meals plans so far are between 1600-1800 calories (that is without adding the milk to meals 2 and 4). Although he is a big guy, I keep my husbands calories between 1700-1800. I try to keep my caloric intake at around 2000-2200 calories. This is because I am pregnant (an extra 300 calories a day) and still exercise 1-2 hours daily, my caloric needs are high and I am not interested as a pregnant person in loosing weight as that can be harmful to the babies brain development. My husband would like to lose 2 pounds a week (the max for a healthy maintainable loss).

You can go onto and click on the dailyplate link or click on my own chart below in order to assess your caloric needs. It has a great tool on there. I have waited for years for a program like this. It will help you asses your needs. You can even keep a food journal on it. Those who keep food journals are 80-90% more likely to lose weight than those who do not. I only do it for a week or so at a time when I need a kick in the pants. Since I use this rotation system there is really no need to do it because I know how much I am consuming. I have left calories off of somethings in the meal plan because depending on brands the calories will vary.

I try to keep the first 5 meals around 250-300 calories then the dinner meal has a little more space. I try to pay attention to portion sizes as well.

Beware of too low of calories!
A person should never drop below 1,200 calories a day. At that point muscle is used instead of additional fuel sources to maintain the bodies processes. Thanks to the survival of our ancestors in droughts and famine, the body goes into starvation mode and holds on for the long haul. Since fat is the bodies most valuable resource (it contains 9 calories of energy compared to the 4 in others) it becomes stingy with it's fat and taps into other resources like muscle when it sees a starvation threat.

Muscle is heavier than fat, as most of us know, and it looks like a person is losing a lot of weight on the scale but really they will not have a maintainable loss. When the body begins to consume again (the fad diet is over) the starvation mode does not end it kicks into it's second phase. The body begins to hoard calories now and stores as much as it can as fat, when it can. That is one reason why after an affair with a fad diet most people gain back more than what they lost and it seems more difficult the next time they try to lose it. Our bodies are amazing machines! They adapt well.

The best way to lose fat is to convince your body that you are going to maintain a lifestyle in which it does not need it. By feeding your metabolism and eating regular, healthy meals you are having a conversation with it convincing it that it can use the fat because more food will be on it's way. By exercising daily at a fat burning level (and higher on other days) you are also convincing the body that you need the muscle to continue the bodies processes not the fat.

Since muscle takes up less space than fat, as you lose fat and gain muscle the "weight loss appearance" multiplies! 2 pounds of weight lose looks like 4 in appearance, and 5 looks like 10!

Focus on the habits not the scale.
I personally like to focus on habits and not pounds. I have my own body fat analysis machine at home (actually I have four) and I don't pay attention to that much anymore either. Once I focus on the habits the weight falls off. I usually give myself about three months between measurements and the difference is joyful. Since I gain an average of 50 pounds each pregnancy (I know "what the heck?") I have had plenty of opportunities to lose (after the pregnancy of course).

One of my clients made a comment several months ago about me not knowing what it was like to be "fat". (Sorry for the use of such an awful word.) I laughed out loud and had her repeat it to see if I heard her right. Then I realized that she was serious. I guess sometimes we look at people and suppose that is the way they are naturally. Like Jillian Michaels. Did you know she has battled weight in the past? Which is probably what led her to her current occupation. I gain weight easily and quickly if I am not careful.

A system for establishing habit maintenance.
When I am trying to establish a new habit I have a system. First there are carrots, next there are habits and then there is maintenance. I use carrots when I am trying to establish habits. Carrots are rewards. I am not motivated by buying myself something as a reward. I am motivated however by making bets with friends (I must have a competitive nature, or a people pleaser tendency I am not sure which it is).

Right now I am doing a bet/reward system with a friend. We plan a dinner out at the end of each month. If I mess up and eat what I am not supposed to I buy her dinner and she does the same for me. If we both succeed we buy our own. It seems to be working well. When I sit down with clients I often try to find out what they are motivated by. Find out what would motivate you, set it in place so you will be most likely to succeed.

Thanks for reading.

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