Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Raw Food Weight Loss Series – Part 7 – Check Register Testimonial, Reader Question About Calories

by Kristen Suzanne in Raw Food Weight Loss

Welcome back! We’re now at Part 7 of my Raw Food Weight Loss series (catch up on the first 6 parts here). I’ve discussed many important things so far, yet I feel like I’ve only just scratched the surface in some cases. There is soooo much to the weight loss equation. Sure, there are some fundamentals like calorie counting and exercising, but there is more to it. I feel like I could write about this topic for a year – lol! So, without further ado, let’s dive in to today’s lessons…

Check Register Testimonial

In Part 5 when I brought up the importance of counting calories, I received a fun testimonial about how one of my readers tracks her calories. She uses a check register… brilliant. Here is what Deb had to say…

….love using my empty checkbook register to track food and calories… start a new page each day… in top balance, I start with total for day… then as the day goes along, I write in what I’ve eaten, the “withdrawl’ from my calorie account, and the current balance. This way, I can keep tabs in my running total, carry it with me, and be discreet…… just need to be more consistent ;)

I loved reading this. I think it can be a smart tactic to look at calories like a business because it helps to take some of the emotion out of food (something many people struggle with). By using a check register with the “savings account” mentality, it really facilitates that. As I’ve said before, calorie counting is a big part of the equation for successful weight loss, but it’s not the only aspect. There is a whole-lifestyle-change in attitude, hormone considerations, types of foods eaten, and exercise, along with loads of cumulative ways to help you get into the best shape of your life. However, calories are a way to help you get on the fast track to attaining your goal.

Whether you go gung-ho and start tracking every calorie that passes your lips is up to you. Even with that intention, it’s not an exact science because we can only estimate how many we’re burning. However, I think an important lesson here is to at least get a look at the big picture of how many calories you really need versus how many you normally consume. That alone can be so jaw dropping for people. I mean, heck, check out the calories in some of these meals and then compare them to what you should be consuming if you’re trying to lose weight or even maintain it. Yikes, eh? They add up fast.

So… have you been counting calories? How has it been working for you? Were you surprised by the number you were consuming or were you on track? Please share your calorie counting story below.

Reader Question: Is it OK to drop below 1600 calories a day?

Here is a reader question that fits in with our discussion on calories today.

I have been following your weight loss series and I have a question regarding your “Calories” post. After performing all the calculations, I learned that in order to be losing weight I should be consuming 1200 calories a day and that would be to only lose a pound a week. Other sources say you should not drop below 1600 a day for fear of slowing your metabolism down too much. Should this be a concern? I was a high raw vegan before I moved down here a year ago and since I have been here I have packed on 35 lbs. I am rather desperate at this point to get at least some of it off. I understand the high stress/sedentary lifestyle is making this goal really difficult. Calorie cutting seems to be the easiest way for me to do something about it while maintaining adequate time for studying. Any advice? How little is too little? What can I afford in order to lose 1-2 lb a week?

Here is my response…

Various experts say not to go below 1200 and that’s a number that has worked for people I know in a similar situation as yours. It’s important to consume nutrient dense calories and to monitor how you feel throughout the day. My research indicates that you’d have to be eating a very restricted amount for a long time before it made a difference in your metabolism by slowing it down and causing you to gain instead of lose. Keep in mind that you won’t eat this way forever. It’s a temporary limit until you reach your desired weight loss goal. At that point, you reevaluate your calorie needs, compare it with your physical activity, and most likely end up with a higher calorie allowance.

Here is another thing to try… You can do 1200 a day for 6 days and then give yourself a boost day of say 1500-2000 calories and see how that works for you. I plan on talking in more detail about metabolism, motivation, and the possible benefit of “changing it up / shocking it” with different calorie amounts. One way to ensure your body doesn’t get used to a low calorie amount is to have a higher calorie day. Try it and see how it goes. Maybe it’s once a week or every two weeks.

Next time I’m going to talk about metabolism boosters! Be sure to check back. My Raw Food Weight Loss Series is every other Friday.

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