Sounds counter intuitive, right? How in the world can eating more food (which in turn means more calories) result in weight loss? A year ago there is no way in the world you would have been able to convince me this was true. I was a faithful 1,200 calorie a day girl. But I wasn't losing weight!
Several months ago I came across a website that several online friends had suggested for calorie counting. The Daily Plate became such a useful tool for me. See, calorie counting was something that I had to be pretty strict about for a while. I had to do it to be honest with myself about what I was eating and to hold myself accountable. I also have to measure my food. Portion sizes are so skewed in our culture. You would be surprised exactly what a 2 Tbs portion of peanut butter really looks like. As healthy eating became second nature I've been able to back off strict counting, but I definitely still do it every now and again to keep myself in check.
The first thing you do is establish a daily calorie goal. Your body burns a certain number of calories just existing. For my height, weight, age and lifestyle (not including exercise, we'll get to that) I should consume around 2,100 calories per day to maintain my current weight. Since I'm still looking to lose a little body fat I can cut back on my calories to create a deficit. A 500-750 calorie per day deficit keeps you on track for a safe and sustainable 1-1.5 pound per week weight loss.
So this brings my daily NET calorie goal to 1,600. The net part is very important.
Another key to being healthy, both physically and mentally for me, is exercise. I'm so glad that I actually enjoy exercise. I would hate to view it as a necessary evil and have to force myself to do it anyway. When you exercise and burn calories.... YOU GET TO EAT THEM BACK. Seriously, I think this is the best thing ever. I love eating more than I love running... and that says a lot. This part of the formula is something that a lot of people overlook. You need to fuel your body properly for the exercise that you do.
My average workouts burn 350-550 calories. The Daily Plate has an exercise tracking function that helps you determine calorie burn, just be sure not to overestimate. So on any given day I'm eating 2,000+ calories and still confident that I'm on track to lose weight.
Eating less calories than your body truly needs will not facilitate quicker weight loss. In fact, your body is more likely to hang on to fat reserves if it feels that it isn't getting adequate fuel to function.
I still overhear ladies talking about their 1,200 calories and I want to reach out to them and tell them there's a better way! There is life beyond rice cakes and baby carrots! Ok... so I eat baby carrots all the time. I like them! Seriously, I've found such a passion for healthy living (and eating) and never knew that I wasn't eating enough. I can't help but think that there are other women that don't know either. Of course, every woman and metabolism is different, so even if we are the exact same height and weight our needs will be different.
I hope that someone out there somewhere found this at least a little bit informational and helpful.