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What’s for Eats?

I know that food choices are something like 85%* of weight loss and maintenance.

*Don’t quote me on that.

It’s at least 99% of the equation for me.   I can cycle or swim all day long, and still gain weight if I even look at a cheeseburger wrong.

I’ve seen a number of nutritionists and Registered Dietitians in my day.  I’ve had a number of personal trainers.  I read an absurd number of health & fitness magazines and books.  And what does it all boil down to?  Calories in must be less than calories out.  

Simple. 

So, I count calories.  I count them using the amazing software on Calorie King’s website.  There are other great calorie-counting websites out there, I just have never used them.

I’ve had my resting metabolic rate tested a few times.  It’s somewhat low, meaning that my body doesn’t burn as many calories as someone my size really should.  Which means in order to lose weight, I need to take in fewer calories than someone my size normally would.  1,200 calories (net) per day should get me to lose 1.5 pounds per week (as long as I don’t eat above 1,800 per day).  But it hasn’t — and I’m trying to do 1,200 calories total intake per day.  But that’s so hard!  Either of these plans have been approved by my current RD, and will not throw me into starvation mode.  I promise.  Your doctor or RD may tell you something different.  Listen to them, for Heaven’s sakes.

I log the food that I eat and I wear a heart rate monitor when I exercise, and I hope, among hope, that my Net calories (Food eaten minus exercise) will be less than 1,200.  And when I do this, without lying, or omitting items from my food diary, this works & I lose weight.  When I don’t do this, and forget to log my wine, it doesn’t work & I gain weight.

Funny how it all works out.  

But, all calories are not created equal.  Well, really, they are.  They’re all a certain amount of energy that your body will take and use, or if not used, will store in the form of fat to be used later (or in my case, NOT used later).  What I mean to say, is that although I am counting calories, and strive for 1,200 calories per day, I do not eat 1,200 calories of whatever I want.  (Cupcakes, Ice cream, Fried artichokes… ugh, where are you, my friends?!?)  I try my best to follow a plan set forth by my RD, which includes a certain number of servings of each type of food.  I haven’t quite mastered this yet — although by accident most days where I’m on target, I’m pretty close to that plan.  Days that I’m not on target?  Enter more processed carbs and dairy.  That’s how I roll.

The basic idea is that I’m eating real foods.  Not processed stuff.  I shop at Farmer’s markets and at the perimeter of my grocery store.  We get fresh fruits & vegetables (plus bread and organic eggs) delivered from a local CSA (community supported agriculture), called HelloHarvest.  Swoon.  I do my best to eat Organic, but no guarantees, as I’m not uber crazy with it.

After seeing Food, Inc., I stopped eating mass market foods, for the most part.  I no longer eat meat that I don’t know how it was raised.  I only eat free-range chicken, and grass-fed beef, for example.  Some of the other meats can be a bit tricker (turkey and pork, for example), but I do my best to buy food that is raised humanely.  I eat the same way when I’m at a friend’s house, or out.  In many cases, if I’m not eating at home, I’m eating vegetarian.  There are some great restaurants near me that do serve humanely-raised meat, so I usually try to stick with those.

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